Dronesville football club #8: my illusive senior nerd turned Indy dad

swiss knifeIf your long lost dad dressed like a Tuareg Indiana Jones suddenly appears in the middle of nowhere how will you react? The tea ceremony is like a fail-proof neighborly ritual between ancient desert tribal chiefs from the movie. I won’t go into details. But the two french actors/actresses conduct the ceremony and exchange polite greetings perfectly in vernacular language beyond this millennial. I play my role as the dumb servant superbly. How do they look? The horsemen? Well, brilliant blue and dazzling white. I would not lower myself to even give a glance their direction of course. Weapons? O, certainly, long knives and guns. So you see, minding my business is the best strategy. One thing we millennials do well is to stay cool and composed even when cold sweat oozes out from every pore.

I hope the horsemen will leave soon but I don’t expect the next scene. One Tuareg horseman lingers behind. He is the one with the long knife and carries a whip. And he walks toward me. He speaks perfect British English! “Look what we have here? You are no Tuareg.” He leans over.

Then he whispers, “you foolish boy, who do you think you are trying to fool?” He knows who I am! “Get out of this war zone immediately. NOW! Get the two German girls to start scrambling for safety!”

It just has to be my dad. The long absented senior nerd turned treasure hunter in South America. He has spotted me because of the minuscule mole on my left eyebrow! But why does he call them German and not French? He reads my mind and clarifies, “French-German.” Pulling me up from the ground he barks, “NOW! follow me!” I sprint like I am seven year old again and explain to the girls it’s my dad and we can trust him to get out of danger. Surprisingly they nod in unison and follow. He brings over two spare horses. The two girls ride on one and I ride with the kid and the goat.

Later when this journey is over and my dad has left I ask the two girls why they agree to follow without hesitation. The librarian laughs, “Why not? We love the Indy Jones movies!” LOL. How dumb can I be.

But why has my dad appeared at the right time? He is a treasure hunter of a higher level. Is he after the same football-field-size gold? What is he doing with the heavily armed Tuareg horsemen? Why is he dressed like a Tuareg Indiana Jones? There is no way I can find out as he quickly rides off into the glorious orange sunset with his horsemen as soon as we reach a highway.

The highway is safe? So we are told. It is empty. No vehicle. No traveler. Just orange dust. Anyway my robot gives me the same instruction to go this way. By now we need to drastically lose weight. I mean I need to drastically lose the weight of my overbearing load. I have two options, the Gen Z kid or the goat. I cannot dump the brat/kid. (What with her amazon aunt towering over me watching like a buzzard). So I decide to dump the goat or eat it. I can no longer swallow another mouthful of the bland meatless concoction the girls has been spooning out without expecting my head to sprout cabbages in another 48 hours anyway.

The snooty anthropologist asks, “How, may I ask, sir, are you going to kill this royal goat and cook it?” The Gen Z kid raises her hand and volunteers cooly, “Easy. Ma’am. I will do the slaughtering.” The librarian (her aunt) rolls her eyes and snorts, “O, no, you certainly won’t!”

“Piece of cake,” I say to myself. As I want to maintain my stature as an able independent survivor if marooned in the desert, I google and find about 50 ways to kill a possibly already dead goat and cook it. Alas, I have to eliminate nearly all because I do not have the equipments or ingredients in this no-man-land. Finally I decide to forget about the googled information and just do it my way.

As I lift up my Weathered Leatherman Portland Oregon knife (survival tool), an unearthly shriek pierces through the still air and all the hair on the back of my neck stand on end…(to be continued)

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Dronesville football club #7: two and half wonder geek women/girls, one dumb goat and half a nerd in catatonic mode

dronesville sahara
Weathered
tea pot

the day for the showdown between three and half “white” geeks/nerds and 100 other human to divide the fifty goats on the roof top of the bus has come. all that i heard from fellow travelers in the least obtrusive guest house in Bamako about land transport to Timbuktu except for the evasive baobabs have come to pass. nothing dramatic happens though with some blood shed due to heads being bumped into each other and the roof etc. as the dilapidated bus turns over and rolls/slides down a hill when it tries to avoid what the driver deems to be an exposed mine (?) and the engine breathes its last. i cannot describe how the roof top goats have survived being crushed under the weight of metal and human mass. i refuse to repeat the fearful angry and desperate noises of human and animals and everything else in such nightmarish chaos. all i know is how the three and half humans who are the only foreigners counted by the locals as the whites have come out alive. yes, there is this blogging nerd (or half a nerd by now), two girls of indeterminable nationality and ages and one little girl who happens to be the niece of one of the two. in the dusty orange desert which has dressed everyone in orange and the gear they wear or rather the gears (maybe 20kg each on the adults’ back) that wear them out it is hard to tell their colors or origins.

but the locals are pretty good in detecting aliens like us. after a lengthy discourse and dissertation by some chiefs we are rounded up and made to pay for one live (?) goat at an exorbitant price and told to walk away with it. the others presumably share the rest of the goats. as the other human including the driver happily walk off and vanish at the distant horizon we english speaking aliens have no choice but to stop fuming or sulking or suspiciously spying at each other but sit down civilly and come up with an agreement: we do agree on one common goal. we all want to go to Timbuktu. three and half is better than one so we decide to stick together. being unencumbered (as i only carry one digital plasma flat robot tied to my chest and nothing else except the tourist clothes and a pair of branded sports shoes i am wearing) i am unanimously voted to carry the goat on my back.

the sunset scene on orange sand domes is unbelievably stunning. the thundering hunger sound made by our combined stomachs is equally spell-bounding. the girls plod on. i cannot decide whether they look pretty or not as my entire focus is on the probable contents of their bags. surely they carry some food and water. so they plod on i plod on. we just walk until the little girl drops down. the distance between Bamako and Mopti is 600km and would take 5 days if we walk non-stop! our best hope is to get to the nearest village to take whatever available transport means. my solar powered GPS says Dioila is 33 walking hours away assuming we can walk 5km per hour. nightfall comes early and finally i am given something to eat. not the goat of course. i put it down and it just lies there with possibly broken limps or stunned brain. not running away.

when i wake i find myself among two Tuareg men and a boy. my walking companions have transformed into locals with nothing but eyes showing and painted brown skins surrounding the eyes. “you better change too as we foresee trouble.” they warn and toss to me a spare set of robe, headgear and sandals. they also paint all my visible body and facial parts brown. one of them expertly wraps a Tagulmust (a long piece of cotton cloth) over my head, neck and face. “who are you two?” i have to ask? “an anthropologist.” “and you?” i ask the other grow-up. “a librarian.” “and i am a gen Z.” says the little girl. “you?” she asks. “a tourist.” i say innocently.

“well, from now on you will just be the dumb Tuareg servant carrying our present to a royalty.” they start conversing in french and begin the brisk walk for the day. what choice do i have but to put the royal goat on my shoulder and stumble on?

my robot gps is set to the direction of Dioila but soon it starts beeping warning that we are off track. the two French (?) continue to ignore me as they seem having their own gps. the librarian carries the little girl (disguised as a boy) in a basket strapped to her back. they have hidden the back-packs under their robes. i soon realize that these are olympian desert marathon runners. they know the route like the back of their palms and walk at a speed as effortlessly and gracefully as gliding down a snowy slope in their own backyard.

if i am the tourist i claim to be i would not mind this adventure. it is like shooting a fantastic adventure movie story: a young innocent millennial geek/nerd with a state of the art AI multitasking robot, two wonder women, one mature and sensible generation Z kid and a speaking goat (maybe the narrator if i write the script). my imagination starts running away as i bear the increasing dead weight of a half dead goat and one live and kicking Gen Z brat (as they have dumped her on my back too) like a beast of burden…alas, whatever peace and quiet in my imaginary virtual world is soon shattered by thunder. but it is not thunder. it is the sound of horsemen behind us. the two french suddenly halt and sit down in the shade of some rocks. they decide to wait it out. the anthropologist takes out a tea set and starts making tea. my robot stops giving instructions. too sudden an unfamiliar change calls for switching into a catatonic realm. so i freeze. i sit down with the goat and kid on my back and shoulder. (to be continued)

p/s: i made this picture from a combination of picture cuttings from different online sources to illustrate the story. the tiny dog purple head is my original. the LOL dog head is not. Credit goes to internet.

Dronesville football club #6: miracle or desert mirage? a puppy in the grass

a miracle! Growth in the desert.

a puppy in park
GROWTH is imminent

When you are traveling on the perilously mined desert road to Timbuktu, in a bus with at least 50 goats tied on the roof, with breakdown or a worst case scenario threatening to materialize imminently at any moment, you just cannot believe that this could ever appear before your eyes when you are suddenly woken by the halt of the vehicle, a football? A drone? No, a puppy in the grass. What? Grass? Puppy? Yah guys, all of the above. Am I on the right planet? Wow! Is this the latest hologram? This millennial nerd think loudly and checks the geeky self in time. But I am not here as a hologram buyer or seller. I am here on my way to Timbuktu to rescue my captivated friend and secure the gold in the mysterious football field fiercely guarded by a team consist of ex-cannibals.

Yet, I must admit this hologram tops the list so far. What a stun! Alas, the goats on the roof are not impressed. They become agitated by the seemingly one puppy stealing the limelight and start shaking together in violent unison. The non-goat passengers emulate the motion and soon the bus is shaking uncontrollably as it attempts to continue its journey. The already overloaded bus with its human and other passengers seem engaged in a storm at sea in a rhythm that an outsider can never master. I can feel my feet being shuffled uncontrollably while the out-of-this-world bus zooms ahead in full sail. For those fellow nerd readers of my chat board who may think this impossible must see the next sight: desert goats posing elegantly like sophisticated Chanel models on an argon tree! I am somewhat disappointed it is not the infamous baobabs I expect to see. Well, argon will do for awhile as it has laced itself with such graceful looking model goats.  But what is the meaning of all these? Wait till the next next scene…(to be continued)

P/s: The following picture is taken from another travel blogger who blogs in Chinese language. Her travel stories are very well written and entertaining. This is one of her picture trophies from Morocco.  When you click on the caption below the picture you will go to her web site

2063 blog

 

Dronesville football club #5: what I do for a friend, gold football field, baobabs, and fifty goats

2017 FavoritesDronesville football#5

All this for saving the life of the longest living captain for a football club of former cannibals. Of course my ex-classmate and football buddy whom we name Romano is no way near that grand football age. Guys, when I say longest living I mean anyone who survives longest without being eaten during the ravenous hunger pangs of a bunch of ex-cannibals after a field day. A one-club man is a sportsperson who has played his or her entire professional career with only one club. Romano becomes a one-club man as he is probably locked up by his fellow club buddies after each match.

So here I am in a place faraway from Dronesville, bound for a mysterious football field full of gold near Timbuktu, a famously remote, now decrepit city at the edge of the Sahara in central Mali, in another unbelievable journey!

My google search turns out this narration: “you can’t beat traveling there by boat, along the mighty Niger, Africa’s third longest river. Setting out from Mopti, to the west of Timbuktu, take a pinasse (flat-bottomed fishing smack)a type of motorized canoe with a domed grass canopy, and enjoy the traveling as much as the arriving.”

I search further and read this description by a traveller: “The road trip from Bamako to Mopti requires about 8-9 hours and is about 640km long, over paved road…Along the way, you will cross the African savannah, full of baobab…” Well, it sounds good. I seem to see the baobab that the Little Prince describes, “It is a question of discipline….When you’ve finished your own toilet in the morning, then it is time to attend to the toilet of your planet, just so, with the greatest care. You must see to it that you pull up regularly all the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rose-bushes which they resemble so closely in their earliest youth…” (5.16). I suppose Romano and the gold can wait while I see these frightfully deceptive baobabs.

Like all studious nerds I continue searching and study the internet for information and tips. I decide to follow two of the the advices of this Joshua Hammer, an American freelance journalist and author 1. In Bamako: Your best bet is a less obtrusive but no less comfortable guesthouse. Well, this should be easy. 2. Take the road to Timbuktu, if you dare…don’t veer off the main track: the desert is strewn with mines. Do I dare? That’s it. I decide to use land transport from Bamako to Mopti and thereafter by boat to Timbuktu.

After an uneventful night in the least obtrusive guest house except hearing nightmarish stories of amateur travelers driving and hitting landmines, I decide that driving is out of the question. Should I get a paid private lift from the battered 4×4? Again I decide against it having heard some horror stories from other guests. One traveler replied another seven years ago (online source): “The last option is to take a bus…There are buses at least in the morning and afternoon leaving Bamako for Mopti from the Sogoniko gare routiere. (I haven’t done this before so I don’t know which one) straight to Timbuktu. Of course they are prone to breakdowns.”

So here I am in the early morning waiting for a bus. The place has had no rain for months and someone says that the temperature can reach over 40 degrees! The buses are full and I cannot wait another day in the marketplace swooning in uncertainty. I am down to choosing between these two and I choose the bus with at least 50 goats tied on the roof! Well, it’s an added advantage to travel with goats in case we get stuck in the desert and need to use this food of last resort…so I imagine. After all, I pride myself for being able to make the right prioritized decision based on the lowest Maslow hierarchical needs (To be continued).

The following pictures are credited to internet sources to illustrate the above story:
sogoniko busMali bus

A Gen-Z nerd’s confession

Hey there. The not-so-young-anymore football fan from last year has yet again hacked into this account and is now giving you a refreshing and thoughtful break from the incessant ranting of the ‘millennial nerd’.

Sometimes I wonder where my older fellow writing nerd gets these wonderful ideas from, ranging from giant jelly babies to (virtual) football clubs. They appear to sprout out from nowhere, and prove to be the epitome of writing: imagining colourful worlds out of mundane societies.

I am now rather harried by the woes of life and am only able to reflect my creativity through painstakingly calligraphed watercolour cards which will soon be available on Etsy (such is the shameless self-promotion of a Gen-Z entrepreneur). I seem to be unable to spout torrents of evocative vocabulary anymore, and feel extremely distressed about this. Perhaps it is the daily workings of this monotonous, routine society that dulls my mind and leaves me sorrowfully drained. It is disappointing, sometimes, that a beacon of light can be put out by the darkest of rains.

I guess I take comfort in the sole knowledge that we Gen-Zs are (very much) more realistic and less daydreamy than the obnoxious, defamed millennials that the world doesn’t really like too much. We all have to grow up someday, and for me personally, I had to do just that, prematurely.

In the body of a 15-year-old, I feel as wise as a nonagenarian and as street-smart as a person of 37. Growing up in this digital age, the world seems to be at our fingertips and all moves at an increased pace. There are always ups and downs to everything, but for me, the increasing advancement of technology in this wireless society proves a pain in the neck, literally, as we are always oh-so-captivated by our smartphones to a point where some of us have never even seen a real tree before. How sad indeed.

Having only recently been given the precious opportunity to experience the world of work ( I tried law and I hated it), I see life from a unnervingly different angle now. I share the suffering of a working adult struggling to earn a living, and I empathise with those encountering discrimination, whether in the workplace, or due to their skin colour or race. I used to think the world was a lovely place full of happiness and free hugs but now it seems to only harbour hateful feelings towards those who do not fit into the social norm.

Oh well, I shall have to leave now. This endless tirade of downcast emotions has taken a toll on me, and I must return to doing my sums.

I leave you with a question for today: what is life? I know, it is often a question asked one too many times, but I urge you all to think of an answer from a different perspective as opposed to the one you have kept for so many years. I hope that by pondering on reflective thoughts, we are able to keep our brains from rusting.

I bid you all adieu, and until next time, farewell.

P.S. I am sad to announce that i rarely even watch football anymore, given the miserable multitasking I am being forced to do, so you can rejoice, dear reader, about (hopefully) never having to sit through another session of me screaming GOAL! every 3.28 seconds or so.

Dronesville football club #4: more algorithm routes to success

More routes of Experimental successes.

dronesville sale pitch“Why are you posting two-dimensional card board people? LOL.” The issue concerning my writing style has been mocked at by a well-meaning but perhaps ignorant unread crony. Another superficial or action-oriented millennial character has the audacity to demand, “Give us Indiana Jones! Pirate of the Caribbean!” I admit I too am loyal fan of them on rainy days when tired of practicing for my next impossible goal of joining the Swiss Top Secret Drum Corps.

But honestly, haven’t you all read the great Asimov’s Foundation? The characters are card board mouthpieces. I shall continue to relentlessly emulate IA (acronym for Isaac Asimov for the uninitiated) at best or JE (Johnny England) at worst. Ahem, an anonymous outsider(?) asks, “Surely you have something significant to REPORT on those flights, don’t you?” The word REPORT arouses my suspicion. I suspect either an IRS agent or a prospecting rival is after the same gold. Who knows he or she might be on the same flights? Not to worry, sooner or later the chap will be ferreted out.

To satisfy my family inquisitor, the retired English teacher grand-aunt, here is the official report: The flights are sardined (sandwiched, warns my former English teacher) with the usual generic flavored travelers and the rest, enigmatic (or rather, anemic as my English teacher remarks) card-board individuals, like me, with inadequate dimensions for profiling to match any algorithm. After many requests ranging from polite gentleman’s perfect dictions to whimpering but futile attempts to attract attention and get food from apathetic “flight attendants” whom I suspect are preset with AI algorithm to repel chaps like me, this innocent victimized human resolutely and stoically sleeps as in hunger strike for a good cause until the first stop where he gorges himself and thereafter snores with Top Secret drum beats in bliss as his digestive and sleep systems synchronize harmoniously.

One young(?) smartly dressed man/woman sells inedible stuff (his/her best-seller book) and this captivated audience carries on sleeping while hearing high-pitched verbose bombastic presentation on how to make a million in one year. Two women of indeterminable ages in front nibble on loud exotic tidbits congratulating each other on having each opportunely made a fortune selling refrigerators, washing and drying machines and air-conditioners to a tropical third world country with regular power failure.

(This reminds one of the report (blog) of 1971 Mali being donated shinny electric IBM typewriters and papers proudly on display to Western visitors by a local governor. They were greeted with the impressive sight of an array of local women sitting on concrete floor behind typewriters which were unplugged because there was no electric power. The governor had a large wall safe opened showing that it was filled with reams of typing papers.*)

A man in his forties but dresses like a teenager wearing a baseball cap whispers succinct bullet points how he buys cheap run down hotels in developing countries, refurbishes with cheap materials and re-sells them for a large margin and is now magnanimously inviting sleeping business partners. To top it all, the “flight attendants” with precise AI do their multitasking entertaining and creative sale pitch.

By the time this humble law abiding citizen of the world finally reaches the capital city he already germinates and masters in his super nerd mind twenty apps for his target potential clients (with sale pitch to each in eight seconds, the maximum current attention span of the Generation Z) on how to become a millionaire in algorithmic ways or at worst give sale pitch on any otherwise boring uneventful long flights.

The overland/overwater journey is another report. (To be continued)

*Credit of this passage about IBM typewriters in a place without electricity goes to: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/475150/posts/2363

For those interested in drum:
https://youtu.be/YJVdnMAGIt8 (Top Secret Drum Corps Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2009)

Dronesville football club #3: two routes to success

Experimental season for successes.

The first least impossible goal is to escape from Dronesville. My past efforts had proven futile but this time I have thought out a fail-proof plan. This is the easiest on my goal list, alas. As anyone can see it is that time of the season when everybody is in a celebrating mood. With winter knocking on the door and bounty snow fall promises who would bother with virtual football club?

I just received a WhatsApp message from one ex-classmate who had lost himself for years hiking in a secret place near Timbuktu. It is a message for HELP. “Hi guys you may not know i am still stuck out here being the longest living captain for a football club of former cannibals who have been converted from the love of human meat to football!!! i am running away not out of fear but out of extreme boredom and also because of this sudden insatiable yearning for ________ fried chicken and a shower i must get back to civilization! i know one of you bored nerds out there doing nothing except twittering thumbs can get me out. i am desperate. got to run. bye.” Next, he wrote, “BTW, this hideout the size of a football field is full of gold. Pure gold.”

Aha, I know that is my break. My first two least impossible goals are: “escape from Dronesville’s virtual football club and get some gold for myself (and not for my boss, the English lord.) My getaway action plan: jam the drone controller, tie a muzzle on Grace’s mouth, use my master key to drive off into the sunset my grand aunt’s 2018 Land Rover Defender. Yes she is testing on one before its official launch. I will park it at the ________ international airport safely of course for her to collect.

So far so good. I get away as planned. However, the international flight is not what I have expected. I inadvertently omitted to pre-book and pay for meals online and cannot buy them on the plane. The rules have changed! Why? Because there is a technical hitch and credit cards cannot be accepted. Nor can they accept cash in lieu of card as this is the airline policy. Imagine a young and healthy nerd with nothing to eat for 10hr 35min! Nothing to do except to sleep… At the first stop I eat something at the transit area. It takes another 11 hours to reach the second stop. Again I have to buy whatever food I can on the ground. I fly for another 7 hours to reach the capital of the nation. The drive from the capital takes 20 hours to reach my destination and much of it is off-road. 48 hours of travel plus layover time.

What? You are already tired reading the numbers? Wait till you hear the rest of the story. (To be continued)

P/s: Some geeks just posted on our secret chat board they have calculated the numbers and guessed the routes as: From SF to Heathrow to Johannesburg to Bamako to Timbuktu. LOL! Guess again.

I took this from the internet to show the cronies of the car I mention. Credit to the Source: autoexpress.co.uk
2018 LandRoverDefender

Dronesville football club #2: too many footballs to chase

Dronesville football club 2Dronesville football club 2

“Ka knew very well that life was a meaningless string of random incidents”. It is just Temporary, I finally quote Orhan Pamuk (Snow) to brush aside the impasse when I get too tired and bored watching the football dangling from the ceiling. After all, my life can so far be described somewhat as how Ka must have felt. I differ on the point that it is meaningless. I find my life meaningful, what with serving the Dronesville’s retirees who are mostly my relatives and former teachers and a super-nerd, an English lord who happens to be loaded with privy information about secret treasure buried in unimaginable places to be found with my unique assistance! Yes, I like to be useful even though I may be considered modestly (or largely) lay-back.

Whilst I have the urge to leave the room and grab some food a voice speaks from above. “Do not move!” What? I look around and see no one. Every one is having the usual Dronesville nap. Besides, I live alone in this quiet little house free of rent in lieu of payment for my virtual football club service to the Dronesville residents. Who has spoken? I sit down and look up at the ceiling and to my amazement another droplet of water appears, then another, and another… Soon the ceiling is covered with water droplets which have started to mutate into golf balls, then tennis balls, and finally footballs. Countless of them are now crowding my whole ceiling.

“These are your goals.” What? They are my goals? How can I ever chase after so many goals?
“Yes, look carefully.” There are words written on each football. “Copy.” So I start writing down these goals, “playing European football for the richest club_____, writing _____ commercially viable applications and sell to _____, composing _____ for _____, re-reading and reviewing at least one classic science fiction in depth (such as Asimov’s The Foundation series, sequels and prequels), making attempts to write a series of _____, doing something positive, meaningful and relevant to change lives… There are so many footballs that I just cannot complete copying. The funny thing is they look so familiar. Where have I seen these before?

“So you recognize them?” The voice asks. What? I look at what I have written and then look up as I hear lots of people talking from above. Pictures begin to emerge on the footballs. Faces grinning or frowning and mouths talking. They look alike.

“Are you not chasing your goals? Why are you chasing after hidden treasure instead?”

Now I realize those faces are mine. I have made goals on the spur of moments over the years and never really focus on one. “Don’t you know once you make your goal, it is registered with the ministry of goals? You are expected to chase after each unless it’s harmful/illegal/immoral/abominable/forbidden.”

“Time is urgent and you have so many goals still ahead of you.”
“Will they go away?” I ask in desperation.
“No, unless you make an attempt and then fail. They will hang around you like this ceiling wherever you go.”

OK, that may sound bad but not as bad. I am still young and can start chasing one by one. But the list is so long. I suddenly think of a brilliant scheme. I will chase after the most impossible one and so on in the order of impossibility and eliminate them fast. “What kind of attitude is that?” The voice hears my thought. “You must follow rules. Succeed three before you can fail one.”

Boo Hoo, what can I do but fall face down and cry. To many footballs to chase away…I can imagine a life of “ceilings” dangling with boring footballs or be aswarmed with football looking bees which buzz like human but making no sense.

But I am an optimist. I refuse to be defeated. Whichever way it may look. (Like the two presentations of the same picture. LOL.)

I get up from the floor and look hard at the list of goals. My task now is to identify the three least impossible ones. (to be continued)

Dronesville football club #1: He starts over a new dream

dronesville football club“No man runs the race until he sees the dream.” (Fred C. White). I, the Dronesville’s nerd dream of running a race, well, not exactly. It is like I am chasing an invisible football and hear this remark from an audience who seems to sit high up. I look up and see the football in the sky! Before I have a better Peek into the other arena I wake with the MacBook screen glaring at me. On it there is a gigantic football. What am I supposed to be doing? No, I am not the player. I am just updating the website for the Dronesville Retirees’ Virtual Football Club.

Since the teacher-retiree-residents start practicing their wealth of combined knowledge through modern tech-know skills online they have been fascinated with the seemingly limitless creative ways to compensate virtually for what they lack in the physical world. One of the programs they have successfully launched is virtual football competition with other retirees. They have appointed the youngest member in Dronesville to maintain the website. You guess rightly, I am the youngest. Most of the residents who are also former teachers are in their 60s and above. My former English teacher happens to be my grand aunt is one of the driving forces behind their enthusiasm to learn the digital age.

Life has been rather quiet since I return from my treasure hunt. Some readers may ask if I get my share of the treasure. LOL. You guess. Anyway I haven’t got away to some mysterious exotic island. I have been grounded and immediately reassigned to be the umpire and coach on the internet as there is a game being hotly contested between several retirees teams. The Dronesville team is not performing to the mark right now. Oh, yes, my boss the English lord is one of the players. My grand-aunt has enlisted him as a reserved player. He has become one of their favorites. Honestly I do not know how he has managed to wangle his way out of that extreme predicament on that fateful night with his container load of gold! It remains a secret. So now I have two virtual superiors to serve (sigh).

What happens to the lovely orange car? Well, it was on-loan from the other nerd (spy?) who chooses to remain under-cover in Dronesville, and I had to return it to a spot where he picked it up without my knowing who he really is. Actually the car-drone is remotely controlled by its owner/inventor. Gracie is as happy as ever being the sole Dronesville mascot dog and the Dronesville drone is safely back to my grand-aunt’s custody.

What is my own dream? What am I running after? I admit I have never thought about it until now when I hear this voice questioning me from above. Do I see my dream? I look up at the ceiling and see a tiny shinny spot. A supernatural manifestation? When I look closely I see it is just a drop of water from presumably a leak upstairs. But wait a second. There is no upstairs. A leak from the roof? But it has not been raining since Spring! Now it is Autumn! No, I have not sighted any chem-trails floating pass the roof top sky. Yes, I am a sky-watcher. As I gaze at this “water drop” it grows bigger and becomes a golf ball, then a tennis ball. And finally it grows to its maximum and becomes a football! A continental football. To be precise, an English football.

For hours I sit here dumbfounded staring at this football dangling from my ceiling, not moving or blinking for fear that this might be the dream I am destined to run after. (To be continued)

Dronesville adventure #22: rounded up last but not least

Rounded up last but not least. rounded car
When I hear the loud speaker blasting “No body moves! You are surrounded” I duck to the ground and my left hand shoots up as it has been ready for this moment of encounter. The snag is that it does not hold a gun. My companions do the best they are trained to do too. The drone surges upward and immediately becomes out of sight with its load of gold. The Dronesville mascot dog, Gracie, does her usual vanishing trick by darting with near speed of light (exaggerating here) into a bush. His Lordship keeps on walking as if nothing happens. I remain frozen on the ground with the vision of a car racing through my mind.

I admit I do have a way to get out of a mess. I have tried before and it sometimes works. You guess rightly, I can envision a way out in my blogging. So, here is this rounded car racing toward me out of nowhere. It does not hit me when it arrives because I am inside the car. In fact I am driving it. I can hear the wind giving way on both sides. I can hear sounds of moving obstacles parting, as the car zooms forward to an unknown realm.

As you can see from the picture, this car is a vintage beauty.

(To be continued?)

Dronesville adventure #21: rounded up

Rounded up!
dronesville treasureNo one could have predicted what happens next. As the others (the drone, the Dronesville dog Gracie, my English boss Lord XY who insists on being kept anonymous) jump, I jump too, expecting the best and the worst. Well the best comes first. I land on soft gentle ground. It is a safe landing after all and not a steep dangerous leap into the unknown chasm. The worst happens too. The boss starts sending me (through my robot) rapid thought of Tin Tin’s Captain Haddock’s curses, insults and exclamations through his robot, “Beasts! Crooks! Gangsters! Highwaymen!” “Billions of blue blistering barnacles””Ten thousand thundering typhoons!”

“Ahem, I beg your pardon, Lord XY, watch your thought mouth…” I thought mutter. “Nincompoop! Directed energy mine field ahead!”He thought retorts back. “What?!Whoa!Rats!Scorpion!…” My turn to thought blabber, “Well, boss, perhaps we should turn back and find another route…”

He takes out a tiny gadget and thought instructs, “Spray this plasma force field over your head and your whole body will be shielded.”

He quickly sprays Gracie, the drone and himself with his plasma spray. I follow suit. Despite not seeing or feeling any difference on my body, I walk behind them (by faith?) through the laser beams-infested tunnel. The beams hit us left and right and bounce off. We are shielded by the invisible plasma force field surrounding us.

So far so good, I congratulate myself. Soon we reach an open door and enter a gigantic dome-shaped chamber with blank walls all round. When I close my eyes and focus on the smell, I smell treasure all round! I smell gold like butter dripping down every wall. “Gold! Gold! Inside the walls! Boss!” I cannot help but yell in ecstasy.

The boss instructs the drone to start working on the walls with a net-like gadget. The drone robot flies to the highest point of the dome and let the net spread itself engulfing the whole space. Tentacles stretch into all directions from the net and attach to the round walls. As the drone moves, the tentacles pull and the walls crumble revealing the hidden wall to wall gold bars which are instantly sucked into the “net”.

“LOL. How can this be?” My chat board cronies mock in disbelief. How can a drone which previously could not lift the combined weight of a dog plus a lean human now suddenly acquire Hercules-like might and lifts a full load of gold bars that probably weigh tons? Where are we standing if the dome walls are breaking down from above? Why am I narrating calmly and not running away for my life?

No, this is not a scene from the latest Indiana Jones’ adventure. It is much simpler and less physically exhausting. The boss, Gracie and I stand outside the activity zone. We are shielded by an invisible barrier. We can see the transparent dome of gold but we are “outside” the danger zone. When the drone flies up to the ceiling, the boss does something with another gadget and builds an instant barrier between the dome and us. The dome is all around us but we are inside a sanctuary dome within the crumbling dome. The boss later tells me that the drone has been modified in my absence and is no longer the same “toy” my grand-aunt acquired.

The drone does a good job indeed. But how are we going to get out? Surprise! Gracie knows the way. She must have been here before. No wonder the boss insists that we take her for this treasure hunt. She leads us confidently into an open field. The boss says that he has his container waiting outside Dronesville for the treasure haul. It is still dark and the night is not yet over. But I feel pleased that the treasure is at my door-step and nothing too “adventurous” has happened. I am just contented going home, taking a warm bath and going to bed, knowing that the boss will soon deposit a large enough sum into my account for my work. I can envisage myself taking a long holiday lazing in a warm sunny place on some secret island without being disturbed by Dronesville’s residents. Oh yes, Gracie will be well fed and rewarded with her favorite treats. My grand-aunt will love to see her precious drone again…

As I think of such happy thoughts about living happily ever after, a rude loud blast pierces my eardrum, “No body moves! You are surrounded!” (To be continued)

Dronesville adventure #20 the scale and treasure hunt

balancing scaleLooking back there seems to be a higher unseen hand balancing the Scale that makes something meaningful out of the day of madness with the young nerd running as the inverted invisible man! The millennial somewhat immature nerd of course cannot be concerned about whether it is a dream or a reality as he races on with Gracie, the Dronesville mascot dog. Here is his account of what happens next. It requires a further balancing of scale as he continues in the great Dronesville treasure hunting adventure. Read on…

AS I race on with the 1972 mothers with prams, I soon discover there is no longer anyone but me and the dog. I can hear the sound of rushing water. Gracie starts barking to show me the way. I reach down and wash my face. Then I look again, What? Water! I can see sparkling water! My physical vision has restored itself. Well, I might as well take a chillax* in the pool. The surrounding is scenic yet unreal because there is no pool or pond in Dronesville except that nasty pond where people rear baby terrapins for sale. Where is this? Is this inside the Hyper-loop lab? It is daytime but there is no one around. There are shrubs all around the pool.

A voice appears from nowhere. “Come up here!” What?! It sounds exactly like my boss the English lord! Then it repeats the command. What choice do I have? Zero. I look at Gracie and she nods as if she reads mind. I climb up and walk towards the voice through the parting shrubs which open to a building so low that you would not normally notice unless you are the same height as my dog. What is the boss doing inside this dog house? “Come in here!” He is indeed inside! He repeats his command a second time. What does one not do for the treasure hunting adventure? I sigh and crawl inside the dog house with Gracie. It is an entrance to a tunnel. Instead of going downward it ascends up to another building presumably well hidden and camouflaged outside and draws no notice from the normal Dronesville residents. It has a narrow hall and the boss is waiting, wearing a mask over his mouth again. As we move forward in silence I can sense this is a transitional space into either neutral or hostile territory. The boss is well equipped digitally as usual and knows when to move or halt as he listens to the instructions from messages received in his robotic head-gear.

I can now only wonder whether I am Johnny England again or an unnamed millennial digital hero in DIY virtual comics. “Stop mind wandering. Focus!” The boss warns in silence. O, I have forgotten that we are digitally wired (through the mind-reading robots we are wearing) to share thoughts. “But boss, now that we have the dog Gracie and the drone (which has appeared and is resting on Gracie’s back) back, we better get on with our real business, treasure hunting!” I think back. He replies, “That’s exactly what we are doing now! Stop murmuring! Start smelling!” Ouch, his thoughts are ever so loud!

I faithfully turn on my exceptionally sharp smelling faculty and start imagining a generous share of the bounty. I smell at each of the many doors we walk pass and shake my head. How do I differentiate between valuable treasures and old metal trash? Believe me, there is a significant difference detectable by the gifted smelling specialist.

Gracie suddenly races pass us and the boss decides to run after her. She gallops ahead as if pulled by an invisible force. I run too. They run I run. The drone is way ahead of everyone. The hall ends at a door. The drone hoovers near it and Gracie stops, turns to look at us, swings her head back to point at the door. She is pretty good at using her head to talk to us. Her head movement signifies that we are to open it, which is the boss’ responsibility, since he hoards and not shares all his high tech gadgets.

As the door opens a gush of cold wind comes through powerfully as if it’s a wilderness out there! We shiver. The boss halts after he walks one step forward and looks down. The drone swiftly disappears into the hole in the ground, followed by Gracie who jumps in without hesitation. The boss jumps. I jump. (To be continued)

* “chillax”: chill and relax

Dronesville adventure #19: 1972 “Dronesville” mothers’ marathon, nerd, dog, baby carriages and time points

marathon-m_3476153b
(Jessica Bruce, Credit: The Telegraph, 2015)

‘We is in Dream Country. This is where all dreams is beginning.’ (The BFG) Continue Reflecting. As the running crowd becomes increasingly tightly packed with runners, I can hear conversation. Someone is saying to someone else like, “Hi, so you have decided to join this first ever in human history marathon? what? I am in a first ever marathon? Where am I and what year am I in? Having gone through the WWII in England, I don’t envisage another horrible history episode in the past. Then I hear someone says, “Yes, we are proud of being Dronesville women. We start history today…” What? If I recall correctly, the first marathon in US in which women participated was in 1972 and it was run in Boston and not in Dronesville. But when I listen carefully, I realize that I am running among a pack of women. I am in 1972, running alongside Nina Kuscsik(?)! But we have to be in Boston and not Dronesville. I no longer try to make sense in this symbiotic zone of jumbled up time and space and characters past and present. Strangely I can hear runners pushing baby carriages! Am I in a comic depicting Wonder Woman? The famous Nina had once said, “”I have always sensed the exhilaration and independence of being self-propelled. Besides, you can jog while pushing a baby carriage. Maybe I’m a product of Wonder Woman comic books.” I can hear baby prams being pushed by presumably superbly fit women whooshing down the track.

Nikkormat EL 800Then I realize I am carrying my Nikkormat EL Circa 1972 weighing at least 1.7 lbs! How do I know? I just know. A woman runs pass me and shouts (in 1970s slangs), “Far out! that’s the latest Nikkormat! To the max! Catch you on the flip-side!” (She means, “Cool, do your best, see you later.”) Then someone slaps me on the back and shouts, “‘keep On Truckin'”(go w/ the flow). Another shouts, “Awesome Possome”(very cool). “Chill” (stay cool). Without seeing I click away at the surrounding. I have become the unofficial blind camera man which is rather ridiculous but cool. Soon I begin to enjoy this new role. A perfect camouflage for me. Being simple, I do not try to figure out how come I no longer bump into people or stuff? I just wonder when my sight of this physical world will resume.

I believe I am lucky. ‘But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance is there. The chance had to be there.’ (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) Why? Because there must be a link between the ability to see the unseen space and the ability to venture into the past, even with my dog who seems to be enjoying herself too. So amazing.

Space is defined as 1. the unlimited three-dimensional expanse in which all material objects are located.2. an interval of distance or time between two points, objects, or events 3. a blank portion or area.

I have entered the interval between two time points across time zones, like slicing a piece of layered cake. (A word to my millennial nerd friends: don’t try to figure this out. Tbh (to be honest), I haven’t figured out myself. Anyway, it is a good way to celebrate mother’s day running with mothers!) (To be continued)

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Nina
(Nina Kuscsik, Credit: UPI, 1979)

Notes (from online sources): In 1972, Nina Kuscsik became the Boston Marathon’s first female winner. Back then, the prizes were a laurel wreath and a bowl of stew. But largely because of this pioneering mother of three, women’s marathon champions now get six-figure checks. Kuscsik was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in 1999 and the New York Road Runners Hall of Fame in 2012. Kuscsik, 73, is a New York City Marathon icon; she is the first woman ever to run the world’s most well-known race, which she won twice. Kuscsik is also the first woman to officially win the Boston Marathon. She has completed 80 marathons in her lifetime. Notable quotes: “People thought I was crazy. When I won Boston in ’72, now they understood what I was doing.”
“I’ve always felt running is a form of meditation. Running enables us to stop our lives, to go out and find a safe place for ourselves.”

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Mum Jessica Bruce, 32, breaks the world record for running a marathon with a buggy in 3 hours 17mins and 52 seconds, at the Abingdon marathon, pushing her 7 month old baby Daniel. Her husband, David, ran alongside them and even managed to give the baby a bottle of milk as they went. “We had a nappy change and a puncture repair kit with us but we didn’t need it. We didn’t stop.” (The Telegraph 18 Oct 2015)

Dronesville adventure #18: a reflective senior nerd from the computer past

Dronesville dog
Dronesville dog

Reflecting is not my usual engagement. But the voice on the stage seems familiar as I continue to listen. Who can he be? My grandaunt seems to read my thought. She suddenly laughs, “You know, my nephew up there could have been just as famous as Bill or Elon.” What? I almost fall off the chair. Her nephew? She has only one nephew, and that is my dad! But it cannot be because my dad has ventured into the deepest jungle in South America in search of the legendary Spanish treasures and has not been heard of since time immemorial as far as I can remember. What is he doing here giving such a boring nerd talk to a group of polite but rather outdated audience? What is his hidden agenda? Yes, my grandaunt is right. Dad used to be a brilliant math and science scholar and a futurist. He could have become as famous as one of those names. But he has chosen to go for hidden treasures. Alas, I take after him in the passion for treasure hunting bit.

Then I hear him say, “Finally,…” At last he is ending his talk. I sigh with relief. He is given a great round of applause. Dronesville residents love to applaud. Then I hear chairs moving and people are standing to give him a standing ovation. After all he has been their blue-eye boy. This is his homecoming day.

I wonder how he looks in this strange symbiotic time zone where people of different time episodes co-exist together like me in my 20s meeting myself at 7, and with my dad in his perhaps 40s and so on. A hand touches my shoulder, “Ahem, old boy, I hear you are working and trotting round Europe with my old Oxford friend (namely my boss-an English lord), still charging as strong and as aimless as a young un-yoked bull, albeit being encumbered by a comparatively weak mass of grey matters inside your cranium, how have you been treating life’s fabulous adventures?” He likes bombastic long sentences. Before I can answer him he is already engaged with my boss in a lengthy dissertation comparing the nasty weather in Europe and South America.

Someone nudges my leg. A small voice speaks. What, it’s Gracie the faithful Dronesville dog! I know it’s her. She squeaks. “Hi boss, we better get out of here fast!” She urges. “I don’t want to go to Europe! You hear what they say, nasty weather! Here, take my leash and I will pull you out of here!” She knows I cannot see. Soon we are sneaking out of the hall and making our great escape, far from the madding crowd (Sorry, Mr. Hardy, I can’t help but quote your great title), into another adventure, or so I hope.

Being unable to see the physical world has its pros and cons. I have mentioned the pros in my former blog. Now I am facing the cons, the reduction in speed of motion. Despite Gracie’s great effort she is not much good as a novice guide dog for the blind. I bump into so many obstacles all the way as we race down the Dronesville Main Street until I no longer care what or who I happen to knock down. I can hear siren behind me. Are the law after me? But Gracie is adamant that we get out alive. She is pulling me like the great and noble champion husky from Siberia. What a sight we two must be making. I can hear not only siren but footsteps running behind. The street must be full of stuff and angry people we knock down or overturn…but we keep on running, soon followed by a growing crowd of runners some of whom do not even know why they join in. (To be continued)

Dronesville adventure #17: computer’s cold calculating logic, human perspective, a model mother

“The standard story about computers, generally, is that they lack many of our more appealing human qualities but are really good at cold calculating logic. You’d think that combining the two — using computers to emphasize our most coldly rational and greedy qualities, and then using markets to aggregate those computers’ individually hyper-rational behavior — would work really well. I guess it does; that’s why people keep doing it.” (Matt Levine) As I narrated in my previous blog there was a loud bang and it seemed the end of the word had arrived. I hear confusion and loud rather ungentlemanly murmuring,

“What?! Fire crackers? Come on, be real, this is not ______(another big global nation like the USA) yet!!!” I cannot detect who says by their voices and accents. All sound American to me with the exception of my English lord Sir______ of course. Someone says, “That settles it, I am leaving. I am not sitting around listening to some promotion of cheap trade-off.” Soon I hear chairs and tables being shuffled around and impatient footsteps of those leaving the scene. Distant sounds of engines of expensive automobiles too.

Who is speaking today? I wonder. Then I hear this cold voicing of a nerd/millennial’s quote on the stage. I cannot see the speaker. Is it a machine or is it a human? I wonder. He sounds ordinary alright, like you and me, or any cool millennial. I recognize the quote from Bloomberg View on Money Stuff, an email I subscribe to. Whoever is standing on the stage is a nerd from the future like me who happens to be around for no particular reason. But he continues quoting the whole article. Rather like the aliens who have landed speaking to the earthlings in seemingly same and yet incomprehensible language. I never realize how unreal we may sound to those who live in mere twenty years ago. How much has the world gone through from 1996 to 2016. Even a seven year old can become an adult taking care of number one (me) now. LOL.

Because I do not see the speaker and do not know his personal traits: race, skin color, nationality, physique, stature, weight, height, hair color, hairdo, dressing, facial, hand gestures, posture, overall mannerism etc I have to cast aside my personal prejudices (which I admit I still have), like William Blake declared, “For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” I am not saying that the above nerd speaker’s quote (on computer etc) is great because it’s just an article I pick by random to illustrate a point about human perspective.

The sudden invisibility of all people around me has made me looked inward and outward beyond the narrow chinks of my cavern. Suddenly I see something right before me, a dried flattened earwig lying on the table as I turn over an invisible place mat. The poor earwig must have been there for ages. I recall an article in the Manchester Guardian on 6th March 1917, a hundred years ago, “Female Earwig a Model Mother”:
Quote: “It was the earwigs that I specially noticed, and I was almost sorry for them, for, like birds, they were sitting on their eggs. I had to stop occasionally to watch a half-awake mother earwig, if I did not happen to have damaged her with my spade. She turned up an expostulating and threatening tail, metaphorically rubbed her eyes, dazzled by the unexpected light, and then began to fuss round, striving to gather together those precious eggs. She is a model mother amongst insects, and when the tiny larva – very like her in general appearance – are hatched she looks after them in quite a correct manner, while the babes seem to recognise their nurse and crowd round her like much more highly developed animals, even crawling upon her back for a ride.”Unquote. What a wonderful mother!.

When I no longer encumber my eyes and mind with the things I tend to see physically, I see and recall stuff that may be rare and precious. Like treasure hunting in a realm I rarely visit. Guess this new vast empty space enhances focus on stuff that matters at the right time and right place.

In a way, it this NOT what Symbiosis MEANS? Human, other creatures, and even computers past and present co-existing.

WORD ORIGIN
late 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek sumbiōsis ‘a living together,’ from sumbioun ‘live together,’ from sumbios ‘companion.’
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BTW: “LOL, see how _____ suddenly becomes SOOO…INTROSPECTIVE!” My nerd cronies have lampooned at my previous blog ranting mercilessly in their latest comment in our private chat board. Well, this one will divert you guys so you go digging out the Money article and see what it is all about.

Dronesville adventure #16: A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

william blake quoteA fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. This is what I learn today. Otherwise it will be Meaningless!
Well, I am now at the Dronesville city hall. I am still in an unseen realm. Others can see me but I cannot see them. Is this a reality check or what? The little girl told me yesterday I was to go to the Twilight Zone. Is this it? Someone sits down next to me and he whispers, “Hmmm, you are here finally!” He is my boss, the English lord. Oh well, I am not surprised that he has turned up. I recall a final scene in an Agatha Christie’s famous detective (either Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple) movie in which all the important characters gathered around the detective when he or she unveiled the murderer. Yes, they have to be around but what is the big announcement and who is making it? I wonder. What am I doing in my seven year old self? What happened on November 28? Here are three random quotes from someone (William Blake~ born 28 November 1757):
1. A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
2. Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed.
3. If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is: Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.

So it is a matter of seeing and yet not seeing. I suddenly become concerned with the perspective of a man. How am I to get out of this narrow chink of my cavern? LOL. A millennial has to laugh at himself by himself. Let’s see if I can find a solution from these words of wisdom. A fool sees not the same tree. What am I seeing? Vast empty spaces where there should be stuff and people. It means I see not the same stuff as others see. Mind you I am not admitting that I am a fool. Am I regarding myself as the wise man? (Affirmative of course.) Who else (other than the fool) sees not the same tree? A writer. A dreamer. An artist. A creative person. An actor. An entrepreneur. An adventurer. A traveler. An explorer. A tech nerd. A blogger. A virtual being. A millennial.

Ok. I must understand my situation. I am writing a story. A futuristic blog for millennials. This virtual story is my current truth for this purpose. I can write myself to seeing things again of course. Why do I choose to have invisibility for others? Good question. Normally the writer or protagonist is the one invisible. But here he is exposing himself to everyone and hide everyone instead from his sight. LOL. What is the advantage? One obvious one is that he needs not describe their looks. Save space. Expand his horizon. Clean and neat screen…and many more.

The next thing I shall do is to clean the doors of perception of everyone here. For everyone has closed himself up and that is why I cannot see you.

A loud blast can be heard as if someone has exploded the sound system or worse…(to be continued)

Dronesville adventure #15: a feast appears from thin air!

thanksgivingAfter I posted the last episode of the Dronesville adventure, I received lots of guesses from my nerd pals of who the seven years old boy with unruly hair could be. Yes, most of them have guessed right. The young boy with a mop of unruly hair was me at seven. I lost my two front teeth and I had unruly hair. So I went back into the past and met myself!

As I sit in the kitchen watching him I really marvel how I could have survived. He is just happy with his own world and couldn’t care a thing with what I say. But he seems fascinated by the iPhone. So I let him try a bit and take it back, “Wait, where are the grown-ups?”

He looks at me nonchalantly with unblinking large brown eyes and shrugs his shoulder, “idk”. He says, “idk”! What? How could a boy of that era speak today’s millennial language?

“Surely you should know. How else can you find your next meal if the grownups don’t turn up?” I try to pull him back to the reality of an apparent lack of food.

He laughs, “LOL! Don’t you see there are plenty of food around?” When I shake my sorrowful head, he seems concerned, “You blind or what?”

“Where are they?” I ask, “I am starving to death!”

Before I know it, he hands me something from thin air and it’s a steaming hot bowl of turkey sage chowder, my favorite. As he reaches for things they appear on the table and soon I have more than enough for a feast: roasted turkey with chestnut stuffing, Roasted Whole Snapper with arti­chokes, potatoes, rosemary, lemon, homemade duck-fat puff pastry and a luscious fig and Madeira sauce, banana ice cream swirled with banana pudding and vanilla wafer crust crumble.

As I gorge myself on all the good stuff, I try talking to him. But he is engrossed with my phone. I can see the nerd formation even at this young age. “Really, where are the folks?” After I finish eating, I ask again. He rolls his eyes and finally says, “At the town hall, don’t you know?” I cannot recall the existence of a town hall in Dronesville. So I ask him to show me where it is. He agrees to take me there provided that I continue to allow him using the iPhone for games. Soon we are driving down a lane I have never seen before. It is named “Memory Lane”. I can hear music as we approach a white building decorated with lights. I no longer anticipate seeing people in this town. We have not met a single pedestrian or vehicle on the way. I am not surprised.

I park the van under a tree and we walk towards the entrance. The boy seems to greet people by grinning and nodding his head. But I see no one. I can hear people talking and the place seems crowded. Someone taps my shoulder. “Why? It’s you finally! You are late! Come over and sit here.” It is the grand aunt. The boy leads me to a chair at a table. Some people talk to me and I just nod my head and smile.

“It is alright. I am just in a dream.” I tell myself. (To be continued.)

HOLA AMIGOS I AM THE YOUNG FOOTBALL FAN …LET ME INTRODUCE MYSELF (a young hacker)

not a droneThis nerd rested for sometime after writing the “Dronesville adventure #14: I am an invisible nerd?” Suddenly to his horror he discovered that his blog had been hacked by the fourteen year old young European football nerd. If you can recall in the aforementioned episode of the Dronesville adventure, he was still stuck in an invisible dilemma. As he pondered the solution daily he suddenly realized that time had passed in the real world even though it stood still in Dronesville. Anyway, when his nerd friends sent him this blog posting with tons of LOLs, he shook himself out of his stagnation and decided to write the next episode of the Dronesville adventure which will be in the next blog post.
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meanwhile you just have to make do with  the original post by the hacker as follows:
“I am now fourteen going on fifteen and rather downcast. Football has been boring in the past few months other than the prospect of winning 10-2 on aggregate against arsenal (HAHA).

As a semi-depressed, moody teenager who is “going through a phase”, I am only ever dragged down by my studies and my generally mundane life of repeated motions in this thoughtless society. It is utterly inevitable that one day all my treasured creativity will be drained out of this struggling mind. This world bears down on me and I often feel overwhelmed by these major matters in life which will ultimately determine my future (according to my overbearing seniors).

Anyways, I am now being dragged away on another perilous journey through this bustling town by my constantly worrying (and extremely impatient) relatives so I bid you adieu, and hope that in this hard life we will meet one day, again.

Auf Wiedersehen, mein Freund!”

Money Mastery for 2017

A MARKETPLACE KINGDOM SOUND -What we need in 2017!

A Marketplace Kingdom Sound

Can or should Christians make money and become wealthy? A friend introduced me to information and teachings which answer these questions. The teaching is good. This is the first time I hear of such clear and credible and convincing Biblical based very practical financial investment guide on whether Christians should become wealthy and most importantly HOW TO DO IT. The teaching is from someone who has made it. His name is Billy Epperhart.

Here are some of his sayings:
Making Sense of Making Money for Making a Difference
MONEY IS THE“MIDDLE MAN”
MONEY PREVENTS US FROM HAVING TO CARRY CHICKENS WITH US TO BUY THINGS
MONEY HELPS US TO KNOW THE VALUE OF THE THINGS.
“ONE MAN SAID, “I WAS PUT ON EARTH TO GET RICH. TO COLLECT THE MONEY THAT ALREADY HAD MY NAME ON IT. AND THEN GIVE IT ALL AWAY.”
“WORK” IS THE SAME WORD AS “WORSHIP”
“To…

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a space craft named New Horizons (haiku, NASA, Bob Dylan)

new-horizons-launchNew Horizon embedded in silence
ten long years evade my lens
questioning perchance (~a haiku from this nerd to spacecraft)

Here is an excerpt from the acceptance speech of the latest Nobel laureate in Literature, Bob Dylan:
“When I started writing songs as a teenager, and even as I started to achieve some renown for my abilities, my aspirations for these songs only went so far. I thought they could be heard in coffee houses or bars, maybe later in places like Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium. If I was really dreaming big, maybe I could imagine getting to make a record and then hearing my songs on the radio. That was really the big prize in my mind. Making records and hearing your songs on the radio meant that you were reaching a big audience and that you might get to keep doing what you had set out to do…Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, “Are my songs literature?””

~~~~~~~Some information and thoughts about New Horizons (spacecraft)
Here is the latest news on Oct. 27, 2016: about a spacecraft named “New Horizons” (which was launched in 2006) “New Horizons Returns Last Bits of 2015 Flyby Data to Earth”:
NASA’s New Horizons mission reached a major milestone this week when the last bits of science data from the Pluto flyby – stored on the spacecraft’s digital recorders since July 2015 – arrived safely on Earth. Having traveled from the New Horizons spacecraft over 3.4 billion miles, or 5.5 billion kilometers (five hours, eight minutes at light speed), the final item… arrived at mission operations…in Canberra, Australia.
“The Pluto system data that New Horizons collected has amazed us over and over again with the beauty and complexity of Pluto and its system of moons,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado…Because it had only one shot at its target, New Horizons was designed to gather as much data as it could, as quickly as it could…and began returning the vast amount of remaining stored data in September 2015.
“We have our pot of gold,” said Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman, of APL.
(online resources mainly from National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

But why did it take more than a year for New Horizons to send back all of the data from the Pluto encounter?…
Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, and was originally treated as the ninth planet from the Sun. After 1992, following the discovery of several objects of similar size in the Kuiper belt, Pluto has been reclassified as a member of the new “dwarf planet” category.
On July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft became the first spacecraft to fly by Pluto. Whilst Pluto was reclassified in 2006, this nerd likes to imagine that when the space craft New Horizons was launched Pluto was still the ninth planet from the sun.
New Horizons took ten years to reach a space close enough to carry out its mission, while flying pass Pluto (2006-2015). By then the status of Pluto has changed to a mere dwarf planet. (Even the stars can change status when we go further and look closer. Or rather it’s us who change and not the stars?)
I try to imagine the final words exchanged during their brief and first encounter after ten long years between New Horizons (the lone and persevering spacecraft which flew the ten years for a singular purpose to meet with the ninth planet) and Pluto, now a dwarf planet: “Well, the times they are changing…”

This is the first stanza of a 1964 song. It is a classic from possibly many nerds’ grandparents’ time. Title: “Times they are changing” (Bob Dylan)
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Nerd’s note about the photo:
I did a search online and found this spacecraft with a name for the weekly photo challenge. I couldn’t take an original picture as I am ten years late of course. The credit of the launch photo goes to the NASA at the following link which please visit for more serious stuff: (https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/launch/index.html).

Dronesville adventure #14: I am an invisible nerd?

nerd-and-cell-phonesThe cell phone rings just as I wake from my nightmare on thanksgiving night. It is a recording: The voice says, “I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids — and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” A Pungent smell like burnt rubber hits me. What happens? I run out of the homestay (which is called, The House of the Rising Sun”)and see my aromatic flower tea van in flame! The homestay workers are fighting the fire with a garden hose. “Alas, my van load of fragrant tea!” I sit on the stone steps and cry. After they put out the fire the front desk clerk consoles me by saying that only two back tires are burned and that the paint on the van has turned “a Whiter Shade of Pale”. Otherwise the damage is minimal. I inspect the goods and find that they are amazingly in tact. After replacing the two tires at a garage down the block, I make a fragrant tea and eat some dough nuts at a cafe named “Proud Mary”. The whole street seems to be lined with shops of names from some songs of yesteryear! As I watch the names walking down this street which is just outside Dronesville but I have never seen before until I check into the homestay, I cannot help but wonder whether I am dreaming in broad daylight or whether I have been teleported to another time and space.

Someone has sent the above quote from Ralph Ellison, “Invisible Man” (1952) to my cell phone. Have I become invisible to the Dronesville’ residents? Or have they (including all living creatures and food) turned invisible to me? I return to my van and try to think hard. Where am I and what have I become? My high tech robot does not work anymore. Neither is my cell phone except for that incoming recorded call by a stranger or robot. “Excuse me, Miss,” I decide to stick my head out of the window and ask a pedestrian, “What is this place?” She looks surprised, “Why, it’s the Twilight Zone, of course!” My first response is to duck under the van seat. “Impossible!!!”

As tech-know millennial nerd, we do not fear the high-tech unknown. But we are quite uncomfortable with anything of the past unknown. I park near a park and see some children playing and singing. One little girl sings, “Somewhere over the rainbow…” So I get down and ask her, “Where is the place over the rainbow?” She looks surprised, “Don’t you know? Of course it’s there!” She points toward Dronesville. OK. Point noted. I decide to give it a try again, entering Dronesville as an official aromatic flower tea seller.

I switch on the radio and hear a blast of 1976 songs with pessimistic and depressing titles like: Silly Love Songs, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Disco Lady, Play That Funky Music, Kiss and Say Goodbye, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Sailing, Take the Money and Run, Takin it to the Streets, Let’s Call it Quits, Still Crazy After All These Years, Crazy on You, It Keeps You Running, Jailbreak, chain Gang Medley… What? There is no choice? A nerd can only take this much. I switch off.

As I approach Dronesville I realize that Dronesville seems not the Dronesville I used to know. It looks period. The houses seem different. Like a newly established housing estate. The place seems brighter and more cheerful. I park my van near my grandaunt’s house and ring the door bell. A young boy with a mop of unruly hair opens the door. “Who are you? ” I am surprised to see a kid of around seven in this house of ancient elders. He grins, two front teeth missing, “Who are you?” He asks me, his mischievous eyes twinkling.

He looks familiar. The missing front teeth reminds me of someone close. Who? I search my memory. Who has missing front teeth? I remember seeing a photo before. A grinning boy with a gap in his mouth. What! I know who he is. I ask the boy the date and he tells me. Yes. I know who he is. He shows me into the kitchen and we sit at the beautiful oak table and talk. Without asking me, he takes out two Yoo-hoo* drinks from the icebox and offers me one. Yes, my favorite at seven. We sit there, looking, or rather, staring, at each other.

“Where are the grown ups?” I finally ask. He shrugs his shoulder, “Somewhere? I suppose,” and continues to stare. Typical answer of a nerd. Not committing to giving any definite information until we are sure what benefits we receive in exchange. I put my hand into my pocket and take out my cell phone and show him, “Well, you know what this is?” I switch on the iPhone and show him the features. He looks incredulous. “May I try it?” He is definitely interested. I let him try a bit and take it back, “Wait, where are the grown-ups?” (To Be Continued)

BTW (by the way) it’s snowing out there.   It’s Not This Time of Year Without… snow?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
Notes on “Yoo-hoo” (From Wikipedia) Not to be confused with Yahoo!.
Yoo-hoo is an American brand of chocolate beverage that originated in New Jersey in 1926 and that is currently manufactured by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.
Since it is neither a soda nor a milk drink, Yoo-hoo’s actual ingredients have long been the topic of speculation. Its official ingredients are water, high fructose corn syrup, whey (from milk), and less than 2% of: cocoa (alkali process), nonfat dry milk, natural and artificial flavors…Yoo-hoo comes in several flavors,including chocolate, double fudge, and strawberry.

Dronesville adventure #13: I try to fill in the blank (bird inside)

bird-inside

It’s Not This Time of Year Without… (bird inside) As I drive the aromatic flower tea van into Dronesville, I suddenly realize it’s thanksgiving night. I can smell the rich aromatic food through the open windows of the homes as I drive down the empty streets quietly. Ha ha, soon I shall be sitting at my grand-aunt’s table and enjoy a good meal! I start imagining all my favorite food and how I shall enjoy myself thoroughly. But despite the smell I cannot see anyone around, not even one person. The windows are open but there seems no one around inside or outside. Strange.

When I reach the street my grand aunt lives I have the shock of my nerd life. I cannot find her house! It is not there. Or rather it is there but it is not her house. The exterior looks the same but there seems no one inside. I ring the doorbell and the door opens. But there is no one at the door or inside. I can smell the food but there is no food in sight. I look into every room and the kitchen of course but there is no one and no food.

I try to call using my cell phone but no one answers. I try to call every resident I know but there is no answer. I go to their homes and encounter the same emptiness. What has happened? Has someone cast a spell and made the residents invisible? Can they see me? If they can why no one tries to communicate with me? Or the spell has cast them into another realm or dimension of space?

I finally give up and sit in my van and wonder, “It’s not This Time of Year Without…” I try to fill in the blank with words like “turkey”, “family (such as my grand-aunt and other…)”, “Gracie, the faithful guard dog”, or even “my boss” assuming I am on the treasure hunt assignment during thanksgiving season, or just “a room full of people”. Suddenly I miss people. How can it be a festive occasion without living people? What is the meaning of this?

I decide to leave this town and return to the homestay until tomorrow. I am the only lodger but it does not matter anymore. At least I can stuff myself with some buns from the vending machines and get some sleep. I dream. In this dream I am driving the aromatic flower tea van into Dronesville and again it is deserted. I can smell food but I cannot see them. I cannot see people or even the Dronesville dog. What a nightmare. As I wake my cell phone rings. (To be continued)

Dronesville adventure #12: how I become the official therapeutic aromatic flower tea peddler

aromatic-flowersAn Aromatic therapeutic flower tea peddler nerd. After being thrown out into the street which serves as a boundary and banned from re-entering Dronesville by two seemingly alien women, I have lost contact with the boss, an English nobleman. Before I can ascertain the next move I stay away as much as possible so as not to put in jeopardy the innocents: Gracie-the Dronesville dog, the Dronesville residents including my retiree relatives (former teachers) friends, and the boss (possibly stuck in Dronesville somewhere) in that order. I still have the robot attached to my chest and it functions well as I can duckduckgo (instead of google) the internet but I cannot access email, Facebook, my private chat group or anyone I know! I have sent signals to Gracie’s drone but there is no reply.

Waiting to hear from the boss I check into a homestay outside Dronesville where I hibernate. Why am I confident to hear from him? You see, he is an ex-spy with 007 background. Even if my robot malfunctions he can still find me with his custom-made nerd detector. I believe he reads my mind through a chip implanted in my eye. To make myself useful I scan the internet for the two women’s information. The chip at the corner of my right eye has a good snapshot of them. By sending this picture to the internet I receive almost instantaneous biodata that match them.

The two are aunt and niece both scientists who have been sentenced to prison for seriously violating endangered creatures’ conservation laws in a foreign country but were mysteriously pardoned and disappeared soon after release. The niece used to be a utility who played in the All-xxx Girls Professional Baseball League. That explains the baseball bat she carries around. They seem to be commercial breeders of mutant giant jelly fish in Dronesville. Why? Where is the demand? I shudder when I think of the time they mercilessly threw me into one of the predators’ tanks!

While lying low in the homestay I meet an elderly, interesting but broke fragrance tea peddler. He has traveled from afar, the land of thousand fragrant flowers, where his family live. Having shared my meal with him I manage to persuade him to talk about his dream of going home as he has been on the road for half a year. “Why don’t you take over my business?” He suddenly becomes convinced that I am just the right sort of successor he has been seeking. “Not me…” I shake my head vigorously. Selling fragrant tea is the last thing on my mind. I cannot imagine becoming a tea drinker when I am saddled with a van load of fragrant tea no matter how romantic it may sound or conjure up in the imagination of delusive minds, a fragrant flower tea seller and connoisseur nerd. Never. But he is adamant in making a deal and gives me an offer I cannot refuse. “Look, young man, I may look tattered but I am not desperate. The business is good. I will sell you the van and the van-full of stocks for a pittance.” It is truly a pittance. “Besides, I have a yearly permit to enter Dronesville where 95% of the residents have been my customers for over forty years.” This is exactly what I have been hoping for, a way to enter Dronesville. To convince me further he makes some hot water and treats me to the best fragrant tea. “Ah…” He shows me how to make the tea and how to drink like a connoisseur.

That is how I become an aromatic tea peddler. My mentor signs over his business license and the ownership of his asset and duly deposits them online to my paperless asset custodian banker, while I duly transfer the e-payment to his bank account. He spends another two days training me and then returns to his homeland happily. Me? I become the official aromatic therapeutic flower tea peddler driving through the gate into Dronesville. (To be continued)

Dronesville adventure #11: banned from Dronesville

dronesville-adventure-11Banned!!! I cannot say more than this word right now. What happens on this fateful night is beyond anyone’s wildest dream or imagination. The boss and I manage to get into the backyard of the ‘Russian'(which is not Russian as we find out later) mansion, with me again soaked to the bone, this time exotically decorated with a few lively accessories like water lilies but predominantly live baby terrapins stubbornly clinging onto my hair, and some relentlessly fastening their beaks onto my trousers! The boss wears a mask but I can see his rigorous facial movement with his mouth moving soundlessly and I cannot figure out whether he is stifling his sniggering or sniveling. Anyway this is not my concern as I have more important thing in mind. Where is Gracie the faithful and brave Dronesville dog?

The boss seems confident and leads me swiftly through a back lane among the trees and bushes. It is unusually quiet. The residents seem asleep. How can this be? Surely they would have discovered my great escape, haven’t they? We walk through the dark garden and soon arrive at a row of old cabins made of train cars which seem deserted. No sound. No enemy activities. What a good adventure this will turn out to be. But I am congratulating ourselves too soon. A shot in the dark. We hear little running feet but cannot see anyone. Something attacks my feet and topples me. I am being dragged into a shed, dropped into a hole, and onto a moving conveyor belt, through a long tunnel. The thing that accomplishes this feat looks like a dog but is not a real dog. He has a lasso with one end tied to his neck and the other end latched onto my left ankle. Don’t ask me how this functions. I try to describe at best I can and it sounds incredible even to me. (I know some of my nerd cronies are sniggering or howling in laughters. “LOL. Who would believe this ridiculous description?” They would comment in our private chat board.)

But the next scene is more incredible. We are back into a well lit hall and who do you think are there? Haha, the two women I described as crazy in my previous blog. One of them removes the lasso from the robot dog and pets him, saying, “Good dog! Go and take your treat! ( A spray of fragrant stuff over it as it presses a button with its paw. Apparently it is programmed to like such stuff!) One of the women carries a baseball bat. She gives me the threatening unspoken look that seems to say that she may test her power throw or hit again using my head as a target. I do not see Gracie and that is a relief, presuming that she is safe.

One woman speaks, “Nerd, you have trespassed our property twice and there is no excuse. What are we to do with you? Give us a good reason that you deserve a better treatment than to be fed to the jelly fish.”

Another woman says, “We give you two choices: (a) To be fed to the mutated giant jelly fish; or if you are scared of water (b) To be banned from Dronesville?

The first woman says, “I am in a merciful mood now and besides, our jelly babies do not like your taste. So I let you choose to be banished. Ok, court adjourned. Dismiss! Dog, escort the prisoner into exile!”

The robot dog, with its menacing flying lasso, and the second woman with her equally menacingly swinging baseball bat escort me to the front door and throw me out into the street that serves as the boundary of Dronesville. “Goodbye, and don’t you ever step into Dronesville again. You hear me?” She says without waiting for an answer and slams the door in my face. (To be continued)

Notes on photos: The picture is a compilation of four original photos taken by this blogger while visiting an old gold mining town.

Dronesville Adventure #10: babies, water lilies, and promises to keep

Promises to keep. dronesville10-pond
“As soon as one promises not to do something, it becomes the one thing above all others that one most wishes to do.” There are times when I wish I had not promised the boss not to quit as long as there are treasures to hunt! What if I had not promised? I would have been sleeping and dreaming of stuff like eating ice cream, hunting Pokemon Go, or even racing down the street/park at midnight, chasing intruders, with half the work done by the Dronesville dog Gracie and the drone. I don’t mind working for the Dronesville senior virtual football club. Indeed, as my fellow cronies have complained all over our closed chat board, “When will you get up to living the status a nerd is called to be? This is now the tenth episode and you have not achieved anything except lamenting your seemingly inappropriate occupation?” One mysterious foreign woman caller managed to hack into my anonymous location and called up through a satellite phone and questioned, “Who are you trying to fool? Those two women (my former captors) are not Russians. You stupid nerd!” I tried arguing, “How do you know they are not?” She laughed and said, “It is obvious, baseball is not a favorite of Russian women!” (Foiled!) She further educated me, “The strongest and most organized women’s baseball leagues are in the United States, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Cuba, Hong Kong, and Canada. Look, young man, I strongly suggest you look nearer home for your baseball women!” I realize later She was right.

Meanwhile the boss and I are in the second private garden. There is a gigantic pond in the middle of the garden surrounded by thorny bushes and there is no way to get to the other side except through the thorns or swim across the pond. This is a huge garden. It will take the combined power of the two miniature drones and quite sometime to take the boss across. In view of the urgency as Gracie is possibly in grave danger by now, I decide to swim, regardless that I no longer have my Armani to feed any water predators. I admit I am not a hero, but I have promised the former English teacher and the Dronesville community to take care of Gracie their mascot and it means to feed and shelter her and ensure that no harm should come to her. Anyway, before I can change my mind, the boss is already flying across by the two drones.

As I dive into the water I can hear strange sound like a rush of little feet except that the sound comes from under the water. Another strange thing is that the pond is not deep. It is like a flat span of shallow water lily pond after all! It is too dark to see beyond three feet and I wade through the water lily walking on soft and slimy ground, being entangled often by the giant plants, leaves, flowers, stalks and roots and all. under the starlit sky I can see aquatic plants all over the pond: lilies, lotus, water lettuce, water shield and fairy moss. I realize too late that I have stumbled onto a baby terrapin farm and I am stepping on and surrounded by them! Soon I have baby terrapins clinging onto my back, perching on my head, and some stubborn ones with their beaks firmly fastened onto the legs of my trousers!

By the time I manage my big escape and wade through the waist deep pond I no longer care what I have brought along with me. I feel thankful that the pond contains babies and not ferocious carnivorous adult terrapins. A drone carries me over the wall into the backyard of Gracie’s captors’ house. The boss is waiting in silence. This is only the beginning of the real Dronesville adventure. (To be continued)

Photography: The picture is a compilation of segments from several original photos taken by this blogger except for the drone and the man in suit. The pond is taken from a tropical aquarium. The H2O has a rather unique look (like layers of tiles on a roof) in the picture. The dog does pretty well too in standing on her hind feet.

Dronesville Adventure #9: original tech-know mind reading boss

An Original tech-know way in mind reading.dronesville-adventure-car Some nerd buddies say that the loss of the Armani is no big deal. Well, unless you are me you will not feel how I am feeling right now. I am soaked and shivering under a blanket, with a hundred horses racing through my mind: Where is Gracie, the brave Dronesville dog? Where is my grand-aunt’s drone? Where am I heading in this condition, with an overworked mind exhausted beyond descriptions. The day’s vigil at the mad house had been traumatic. Shall I tell the boss that I need a medical break? But the boss is in no mood talking. The silence of the ride is deafening or rather thundering. If anything bad happens to Gracie or the drone, how shall I answer the wrath of my former English teacher (aka the nerd-to-be grand-aunt)and the whole troop of retiree teachers who are also Dronesville residents? They have been hospitable to me giving me free meals and lodging in Dronesville for about a year during my recuperation from three years of treasure hunting under extreme conditions. Gracie is the Dronesville mascot dog. As I have mentioned earlier she has gone through an overdose of gamma ray in the Hyper-Loop research building and has transmuted. Nothing spectacular except that she can hear and understand human language (English to be precise).

As I am busily figuring out and practicing various excuses in my mind to get out of this mess, I hear my boss says,
“Ahem, stop thinking aloud!”
What? I have been doing that? What a mess I must have become without even knowing it! “You mean me? O no, not me. You have eavesdropped the wrong person, boss. i didn’t even open my mouth.” I attempt to talk sense.
“Stop arguing. I hear your mind loud and clear with this new device.” He shows me a gadget hooked to his right ear lobe.
“What? This gadget reads mind?” I am aghast. Has ___(blank space in lieu of a name of a country) newly achieved another breakthrough in spy technology that my English boss is again perhaps involved in?
“Hahaha, use your grey cells. What are you wearing?” He points to the robot that is still glued to my chest. I then realize that I am still transmitting my thoughts through the robot to the drone which Gracie has taken with her and the boss has hacked into the transmission! The gadget is a receiver. As simple as that! Ha.
“BTW (by the way), stop transmission now. Gracie and the drone have been captured by the two seemingly Russian (?) women.” The boss warns.
“Thanks. Boss. How do you know all these?” I ask.
“Hahaha, use your grey cells. I am the one who let you sneak off with the robot. Don’t you ever wonder why?” The boss bursts into laughters.
“You mean the robot is programed to auto-transmit to you my thoughts and other info?” It finally dawns on me how big a fool I must have been in the eyes (ears) of the boss, Lord YYY (I will continue changing the substitute alphabets so no one can accuse me of giving away my boss’ identity).
The car comes to a halt in a deserted back lane. The boss gets out with the two drones and asks the silent driver to give me his shirt. “Follow me. We need to go through two private gardens to get to the back of the Russian house.” So he is going to rescue the poor dog and the drone of my grand-aunt. He is not without kindness after all. Even though I have stopped thought transmission the boss seems to read my thought and turns and says,
“Hey, I do this not without my own agenda. I need the dog in this forthcoming treasure hunt.”
“Noted, boss.” I am a bit crest-fallen but I still like to imagine he is not that mercenary for he is already super-loaded.
Some nerd friends ask me how I would rate my boss. Well, on a scale of one to ten, one being the lowest, I would say he is close to 8+ or 9-, because of the generous and fair monetary reward he hands out to all deserving workers after a successful big hunt. As a human being he is also very descent, courageous and honorable. He doesn’t run away from challenges and leave any of his hired men in hot soup to face the music alone. On technology nerdiness (a new term I have just coined)? Well, I would give him ten. He invents and innovates all the time. No, he is not EM (you know who). He is English and not South African.
As we approach the first garden all is quiet and perfect. The drones carry us over the walls without a hitch. Because of our weight and bulk compared to the drones, we use them to get across the walls only. At the second garden we encounter a strange thing. (To be continued)

Photography: This is an original picture taken in a vintage car museum. This blogger has not done any touch up to it as it looks a bit similar to the boss’ car (which of course is tech-modified). Alas, this blogger does not know the details of this car.

Dronesville adventure #8: original H2O nightmare for a nerd

an Original nerd’s mess.
dronesville-adventure-aquariumIt is not a nightmare because I am not asleep. But it is a real life nightmare. How can that be? A dull thud and a distant scream. What happens? Has something happened to Gracie the Dronesville dog who is coming for my rescue?
I can hear the rapid churning sound of H2O like water being whipped around by the giant jelly fish who are getting impatient to come at me out of gnawing hunger. I have figured out that since the two women have not come to this room for a whole day the monstrous fish must be near starving. I can now hear rushing footsteps of the two women or perhaps it is someone else? Suddenly I am lifted up and thrown into a container with a big splash. I am still blindfolded but the Armani suit slides off my body perfectly as the jelly fish starts to gnaw at it. They seem more interested of the Armani than me, for after all it is made of a special material and texture that simulate that of small aquatic fish and their eggs and invertebrates. The Armani sticks to their tentacles. Why did I wear such unusual stuff? Hahaha. It is a requirement by my boss for the treasure hunt over the high sea or some potentially deadly ponds hidden in the backyard of some vicious landowners, in case we fall into the vicinity of water predators.
I can hear the two women leave the room immediately after they throw me into the tank. But there is another person around as a pair of hands pull me out of the water before the giant jelly fish decide to treat me as dessert.
He cuts off the rope that ties my hands and removes my blind fold too. I am most surprised to see that it is my English boss, Lord xxx. He is still wearing his hack-proof mask.
“Where is Gracie the dog?” I ask. But he shakes his head and signals me to follow him out of the room down a labyrinth of dark passages. We soon come to a tall wall and he signals for two drones to carry us over and into the world outside! A black car waits at the side lane and we are soon inside and speeding away from that dreadful place.
The customized car is built into three compartments: a front section with a silent driver, the middle section where the boss and I sit and a back section which is partitioned off by an opaque glass panel. I still think of the Dronesville dog, Gracie. What as happened to her? Was she captured by the two mad alien women while trying to come to my rescue? I shudder. (To be continued)

Photography note: The picture is compiled by segments of several original photos taken by this blogger with the exception of the three heads and the suit.

Take a hike, nerd: Dronesville adventure #7

Hike
dronesville-adventure-7I am taken for a hike. In my Armani suit looking all respectable notwithstanding perching precariously on a ladder looking into a neighborhood sunny garden minding my own business calling out for my Dronesville’s dog, Gracie, who has disappeared overnight, the sudden blow comes and knocks me off balance completely, causing me unceremoniously free-falling over the edge of the garden down a steep slope gate-crashing into someone’s private property. Later I learn that the blunt object that hit me is a base ball which a Gen.Y woman power hitter hits with great precision and aim landing the ball right on my head as intended.

Once I reach the point of no return someone blindfolds me and tie my two hands together. Then two persons drag me to a prison cell (or a cellar of some sort). I cannot see at all so I start imagining the worst scenario. I can hear sound of running water. Am I in a dungeon? Then I realize I am possibly in the house adjoining to the hyperloop place. It is a large, seemingly ordinary and sunny looking house painted bright sunflower yellow. I can hear footsteps of people moving some furniture in the room. Then a woman voice asks:

“What are you doing spying on us?”

Another woman voice says, “You peeping tom!” (Because I was using binoculars before they hit me.)

“Don’t think that you can fool us by dressing up as if you are an ordinary salesman.” This woman thinks that I wear Armani suit to sell stuff to the dronesville residents!

“He is probably a con man. We have never seen salesman wearing Armani. Perhaps he is a pervert.”

“Maybe he is just a third rate actor who has been made redundant and is doubling up as a temporary salesman?”

“No he seems too foolish not to be a spy, like Johnny England. I bet he is a third rate spy. Let’s see, what shall we do with a spy? Perhaps cut off his index finger and mail it back to the M15 or FBI?”

I can only shake my head vigorously. They have gagged me so I can’t answer them. They don’t seem to want my answer anyway because they keep asking questions and answer them themselves.

Meanwhile, I am still blind-folded. My hands are tied and my mouth is gagged. I am like a sitting duck shaking my head like it is working on a head shaking upside down pendulum clock. The situation is getting out of control soon as the two hotly debate about my real motive and a pandemonium breaks out as they start throwing stuff at each other and causing loud bangs. What sends shiver down my spine is that the two women speak English with foreign accent.

“What shall we do with this intruder?” Finally one comes back to the crucial question.

“Well, maybe we feed him to the jelly fish? Our jelly babies will be delighted!”

“Hmmm, seems good idea. Only snag is he is too big and they get bored with eating the same stuff for too long. With that Armani he may cause indigestion too.”

“Deep freezing can preserve for months, in case we run out of food for the jellies.”

I recall having read somewhere this dreadful information: “Jellyfish are carnivores and excellent predators. They sting with tentacles to subdue small aquatic fish, and eat the eggs and invertebrates that stick to their tentacles.” I realize too late I seem to be in the hands of two possibly mad alien women who are hiding from both the M15 and FBI. But what are they doing breeding giant jelly fish? I shudder to  figure out.

They cannot decide what to do and decide to call it a day and leave me. I can sense the day dragging until nightfall. The two do not return to check on me. I have my window of opportunity to escape. Even though they have taken away my mobile phone, they have not detected my hair-line-thin-film robot glued to my chest. When I am finally convinced the two are fast asleep and certainly not within earshot I telepathically command the robot to communicate with the drone which I am confident that Gracie has taken with her.

Sure enough Gracie or rather the drone returns a signal to show that it is receiving my signals. I send my thought again to signal I am in dire strait if not life threatening danger. Soon the drone returns with an audible signal that rescue is on the way. The GSP link enables my robot to transmit my exact location to the drone which in turn can lead Gracie here. Will Gracie understand the drone’s signal? The drone will translate the signal to her in audible human language and being a transmuted dog she can understand alright! I become quite optimistic after all.

I can hear soft steps of little feet and an almost inaudible humming drone sound by the time I nearly doze off. Am I hearing things or am I imagining? But I also hear a loud thud somewhere…(To be continued)

(Still on)Edge

A peeping nerd on edge: Dronesville adventure #6

Edge
dronesvilles-edgeAhem, here I am after this blog having being usurped by Gracie, the Dronesville’s dog. My nerd cronies have been booing like after their favorite German football club lost the recent Euro cup and some even had the audacity to suggest I change my blog’s name to “Gracie the nerd dog”, so the dog gets the prominent position for after all she has been writing the blog.

I wake with a triple headache. First I remember the boss instructing that I bring Gracie the dog along to our treasure hunting expedition. Secondly, I cannot locate Gracie. Thirdly I cannot locate the drone. What more can a decent normal nerd ask? All three mysteries land on me at one go, as if my new profession overnight becomes multitasking investigating sleuth. The combination of the problems seems too good to be true. Haha, I somewhat pride myself on cracking multiple puzzles. Surely this has something to do with Gracie. Oh, I know all about her being able to eavesdrop on human conversation for sometime ever since she frequented the Hyperloop place and inadvertently put herself under the influence of a gamma ray and transmuted. shall I say good riddance to her? Shall I simply tell the boss as she has run off he might as well call the trip off? Or shall I go look for her so I won’t get into further trouble with (or rather under the wrath of) the boss? Maybe I simply go back to sleep and pray that this is only a nightmare…

I don’t really have any option but to choose to go look for Gracie because I don’t want a double dose of wrath, one from the boss and one from the grand-aunt (also my former English teacher). But honestly I do have some sentiment for Gracie for she has been a good and faithful guard dog. What if she falls into unscrupulous criminal hand? I shudder at the thought of this possibility. I start by asking pertinent questions.

Why has she run off? Obviously it is because she doesn’t want to go treasure hunting with human. Where can she run to? She has to go to her doggie friends for help. Who are her friends? There are no other dogs in Dronesville. Where can a secret hideout be if there is indeed a doggie friend to take her in? I know practically all the normal Dronesville’s residential houses and the residents being related to them one way or another, a whole bunch of retirees from the academic professions who are now aiming to become nerds in modern and up to date technology. Being a young up to date tech-know nerd in their view, I am invited to their virtual club meetings as an honorary advisor.

There is only one place I don’t know. The Hyper-loop building. I know of it superficially. They operate in top secret and no outsiders are allowed inside. I know they keep a cat. Surely our Gracie does not make friend with a cat? What if in her desperation she tries to sneak into that place and gets caught by the cat? I shudder again. Poor Gracie. She will be no match against that giant cat. I make up my mind. I shall have no what-if. I shall investigate no matter what comes and get the facts.

So that is what happens as illustrated in the photo-picture today. You can see a nerd dressed in proper business suit just to look respectable standing on the edge of a ladder peeping into someone else’s lovely sunny garden…and what happens next is I feel the back of my head being hit by a blunt object and I fall…(To be continued)