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.

late 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek sumbiōsis ‘a living together,’ from sumbioun ‘live together,’ from sumbios ‘companion.’
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 #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 #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 #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.

War between Dronesville’s Brave (dog) and Meanie the Plop (cat): Dronesville adventure #5

dronesvilles-adventure-dog-3“Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.” (Agatha Christie, Death on the Nile). Like I said in my previous blog about me being able to speak and tech-know, I go into hideout by joining my robot dog friend Robby in the hyperloop. By now everyone should know how loyal we dog are to our human masters. “The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” (M.K. Clinton, The Returns).

The hyperloop place is cluttered with all sorts of machines and being a miniature dog I can slip in without being noticed. It is three in the morning and everyone is sound asleep. They do not keep a dog but there is a tiny pet entrance at the back kitchen for a cat. Yes, there is a cat there. Her name is Meanie (aka Goliath) the Plop. The drone carries me over the wall smoothly. As I approach the cat entrance I can smell the Plop. But I am not afraid. “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th President of the United States). Like my master, I am oozing oily quotes/misquotes from every pore and oil myself to the floor. (My Fair Lady) My master has done a good job daily drumming them into his and my head through repetitions during meal time.

I enter the house without a sound. But the Plop seems waiting for me. “What have we here? Haha a miserable intruder!” She hisses. She is huge for a cat. Sleek and huge. Grossly overweight. “My, a miniature dog! What is that on your back? Hand it over!” Her size is colossal. She stands up and arches her back, opening her menacing mouth, sticking out a blood red tongue. Her claws are long and sharp. Shifting into a war pose she blocks my way. What else can an otherwise peace loving decent dog do in this situation?

I won’t describe the Dronesville brave (dog) and the Goliath Plop of a cat fight scene. it is not pretty. Losing is not my game so eventually I signal my companion brave (drone) to land on her head. She is shocked beyond words. The crash landing of the drone knocks her out. By then Robby has appeared and leads us two braves (dog and drone) through a dark tunnel to his hideout. I spend the rest of the night and many nights thereafter licking my wounds. I shall not rejoin my master until I am whole again.

I must admit I do plop myself down on the hard tiled floor and sulk for sometime. Then I cheer up. Robby the robot dog seems trustworthy. He is good in finding food too (for me of course). The drone is my assurance. He is like a security blanket a toddler must carry around. I need his mobility and later communication with my master who probably will be frantic when he discovers that I am missing. Hahaha, my turn to laugh and congratulate myself for my ingenious scheme to help my master, despite the Plop’s nasty interval. My human master will be proud of me. Tomorrow will be a brighter day! (Misquoting Gone with the Wind). (To be continued)

a rare dog speaks: Dronesville’s adventure#4

Rare Miniaturedronesville night escape“Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.” This is from the mouth of my favorite actress, Elizabeth Taylor. You guess right. Dog ranting continues today. “Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” (Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red) I am now plotting my great escape before the night is over. As you would have guessed, I am of minute or rather miniature size in real life. Why? Was I stunted? Was I a runt? I don’t know. I was an orphan abandoned on the entrance to Dronesville. Pink nose, yellow eyes. The kind former English teacher adopted me for this special retiree teachers tech-know-to-be community. My age now? Hmmm, maybe I am seven more or less. Yes, according to this famous quote I searched from the internet (when my master fell asleep with his PC on and forgot to put me outside)I rank among leading actors and horses. My size does not deter me from being the hero. LOL.

Back to business. I know where I can go to find a hideout so my master would not get into further trouble. I have developed a taste for biting his boss’ heel (without actually biting into his skin) and possibly annoying him. It’s therefore best for me to go somewhere to avoid being dragged by him to some foreign land treasure hunting with a hidden obsession to bite him for causing my master and I duress.

For those unfamiliar with dogs, I do have packing to do. “What?” You ask, your mouth wide opened and eyes rolling. Ahem, don’t forget I am not an ordinary dog. What do I pack? Goodies to eat during emergency of course. In this case I also take along my master’s grand-aunt’s miniature drone which she handed to him and he inadvertently left on the couch. How else do you think the drone could have landed on my master’s head or safely stored in his pocket in earlier episodes of Dronexit?

Thus with my miniature futuristic solar digital voice/bark/whimper operated dog-backpack already fitted on my back by my master as he prepared for the treasure hunt venture with his boss, and a last glance at my drooling master who is in deep sleep on the couch probably dreaming of futuristic robotics, I open the door, jump over the fence and speed into the night. My destination is of course the Hyperloop at the far end of Dronesville. I have been to this place many times and am familiar with its layout. I even have a canine friend there in the hideout! An abandoned miniature dog robot who has made his way there and made it his home. Being miniature is an advantage. We can hide in nooks which many humans tend to overlook. The disadvantage is that we need to watch out for bullies from our own animal world. As I am the only dog in this neighborhood I don’t need to worry about that. But Hyperloop is another world…(To be continued)

For those interested about miniatures, read Pamuk’s novel, “My name is Red”. My Name Is Red is a 1998 Turkish novel (a philosophical thriller)by writer Orhan Pamuk translated into English in 2001. Pamuk would later receive the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. The novel, concerning miniaturists in the Ottoman Empire of 1591, established Pamuk’s international reputation and contributed to his Nobel Prize. The main characters in the novel are miniaturists in the Ottoman Empire, one of whom is murdered in the first chapter. Pamuk suggests that to some of the characters, viewing miniatures or “perfected art” is a way to achieve a kind of glimpse of eternity. Famous quote: “I don’t want to be a tree, I want to be its meaning.”

gigantic eyeball (Dronesville adventure#1)

dronesville eyeball“It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.”
I got this famous first line from Paul Auster (City of Glass). My phone rings three times in the dead of night. There is no one on the other end. Is it a prankster? Or have the Thompson twins caught on with me? I am chilling out in a secluded house provided by my seemingly unlimited extended family network of retiree teachers in Dronesville, while preparing for my treasure hunt adventure profession abroad.

When my phone rings a thousand possibilities actually race through my mind. My dog Gracie is with me outside guarding my new abode. Her old house is now occupied by the authority. Like me, she is sort of homeless. She starts barking frantically like someone has snatched her beef flavored goodies!
Who can it be? At such hour it can either be the law/criminal or the relatives.

I peep through the curtain and switch on the front porch flood light. Who but my former English teacher and her umbrella? “Ah, there you are, rise and shine, I need help!” She exclaims, waving to me with a hand that holds up a picture.

“See, what do you think this is? I took this last evening and now I have time to look at it. It is shocking, don’t you think? Like a gigantic eyeball in the sky!” She exclaims.

“Do you think the aliens are spying on us?” She is still panting because she probably has run all the way to my house. For those who are not familiar with Dronesville, the residents here are mostly of age 65-85, retiree teachers who strive to become technology savvy. They are mostly related to me in one way or another. My former English teacher also happens to be my grand-aunt. There are hardly any young people around and somehow the community treats me as their source of intelligence when it comes to tech know matters or something alien and smells of outer-space.

I look at the above picture and decide it is just the formation of the cloud and the sun and I tell her so. But she is not happy. She whispers, “You see, when I took it there was nothing up there. I was only shooting at the evening plain. I have a shock when this big eyeball appears in the photo! Don’t you think it’s rather rare and weird?”

She insists that it is a premonition and asks me to keep an eye for Dronesville since I am still considered comparatively loyal and trustworthy. “But, we have the police around…” I try to assure her. She rolls her eyes and shakes her head of white hair (she has recently decided it’s better to keep it un-dyed to avoid mistaken identity), and says, “No. I don’t know those young fellows. They haven’t proven themselves yet. So meanwhile you remain in position. Clear?”

“Here you are, the drone. ” She hands over her pride drone and gives me further instructions to keep watch. Then she disappears into the night.

As I examine the photo of the gigantic eye in the sky, a rare screaming comes across the sky. (Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)) (To be continued)

to reach or not to reach (Dronexit#26)


a narrow door -time portal

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. This is the statement i have decided to use to finish this episode in Dronesville. My famous source is George Orwell in 1984 (1949) of course! By now the blog readers who are unfamiliar with this nerd, and who stray here without a reference from my cronies, would have noticed anyway that this nerd seems to be nerdy about English, British, WWII, drones, robots, vault, social media chat, messaging, nerd terminology, pictures created by cut and paste and overlay of objects and scenes taken or created by others on my own originals, story telling, adventure and spy movies reaching far back into history, science that borders on fantasy, overlay of individuals (often historical) on my current or fantasized scenes like what Pokemon Go does with little monsters overlaying on your mobile phone screens, pasting of my memes in your imagination with my blogs, and of course, cartoon characters, funny jokes, and literature quotes and misquotes etc.

the Dronesville residents call a meeting and give me a farewell party. The president of the Dronexit committee, a former botany science teacher, makes a descent speech about my contribution as the youngest (uncovered) member of this retiree community who belongs largely to the Baby Boomers and Silent Generation. “One thing we admit you do pretty well is being resourceful in trying and not giving up. And you dare reach where no one or hardly anyone dares.” He says.

The members reach an agreement and give me a gold medal with this inscription, “To reach or not to reach, that is the question” -a deliberate misquote from William Shakespeare – To be, or not to be (from Hamlet 3/1).

My former English teacher (who is also my grand-aunt) specifies, “We define the word ‘reach’ as follows:
[ no obj. ] (reach out) chiefly N. Amer. seek to establish communication with someone, with the aim of offering or obtaining assistance or cooperation: his style was to reach out all the time, especially to members of his own party | anyone in need of assistance should reach out to the authorities as soon as possible.
succeed in achieving: the intergovernmental conference reached agreement on the draft treaty.
make contact or communicate with (someone) by telephone or other means: I’ve been trying to reach you all morning.
(of a broadcast or other communication) be received by: television reached those parts of the electorate that other news sources could not.
succeed in influencing or having an effect on: their fresh sound and message reach people who may never set foot in a church.

Quite a tall order and prophecy for me and my futuristic journey in this blogging nerd’s life ahead. Blogging is all about ‘reaching’ an audience. The same with any social media. We just yearn to ‘connect’. Some prefer the word ‘share’. We like to share.

Whatever we use to describe this yearning behind every WordPress blogger, the motivation is similar. The mode of presentation too. We rely mainly on two things: pictures that say a thousand words. And a thousand words.

I have since discovered that this nerd’s targets do not read WordPress blogs or any blogs with words. To be precise, they do not read words unless the words interest them. How to make my words interesting to the millennials? My nerd friends tell me: fun and usefulness. And along this goal-path I shall plod.

I have not ferreted out the other two or three nerds hiding in Dronesville. They have moved house and do not seek to communicate. Apparently the lady who did not appear a nerd is one of them. She too vanishes into nerd’s air.

My time is up. I am due to travel to my distant and more exciting land treasure hunting. Good bye, Dronesville nerds. Time for my narrow door -my time travel portal now. Signed, a nerd from Dronesville. (Plodding on to reach my goals)


“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,”
(William Shakespear)

p/s: This daily prompt stuff is good. I find lots of inspirations in formulating my nerd adventure story in Dronesville! Thanks! Continue to have fun, all!


hijacks and passwords. Dronexit#25

I see bombs exploding around me and marines fighting back with Anti-aircraft gunners. US planes and warships are in place too and a major combat at sea and air are in operation. I find myself suddenly adrift at sea and float between warships. The whole sky is aflame. Being still obsessed with the war I cannot switch to another mode. I float on watching the live battle between metal giants. I do not know how long I have drifted in the ocean of actions. The remarkable thing is nothing touches the time portal. I am totally unscathed. I am just a bystander. I finally fall asleep. When I wake I can see the sun is out the time portal has landed itself somewhere. When the portal reverts back into a robot strapped around my waist, I find that I am alone on a beach again. Has my mother’s warning come true? Am I now Tom Hanks (Chuck Noland)in the movie *Cast Away? I start looking for Wilson the volleyball which serves as Chuck Noland’s personified friend and only companion during the four years that Noland spends alone on a deserted island.

What I see is more shocking than the shocking volleyball if ever it is there. I see two men approaching. I am confronted by Thompson and Thompson the two who claim to be investigating for the Consumers Association. “Good morning! Nice to see you again!” One of them greets me with a handshake. The other one does the same in words and deed. They seem to ignore my condition: wearing old marines fatigue uniform, stinking of swamp creatures, with a swollen face due to insect bites. They escort me to the back of a black van and shove me inside. The windows are all shrouded with London fog and I can see nothing as the car speeds off. Soon I realize we are not on the ground. We are gliding in the air! “So you notice? We have our time portal too!” one Thompson remarks. “To be precise, this vehicle is a giant drone, not exactly a time portal.” Another Thompson remarks. “We have intercepted your blog and chat group beaming. Hahaha! So we know when and where you will land!”

I have been hijacked. Inside a drone with two lunatics. “We have no time for delay. You will give us the key and our agent will go to the house and open the vault and take the Drone#1 for us.” One Thompson says. “You see, we don’t even need you to take it for us or tell us what is inside.” Another says with a big grin. “Elementary. Just give us the key.”

“You see the fog? We are flying over the worst fog ever in the history of mankind. All we need to do is open the trap door below your seat and you will fall through into it. No one will see you again.” One Thompson tells me the consequence if I do not cooperate.

“The best option is to give us the key to the Dronexit#1. Once we receive confirmation it is in the hands of our agent, we will make sure you reach home safely like nothing has happened.” One says earnestly. “Yes, on our honor.” Another agrees.

“To be precise, your password.” Their hackers have failed. That is why they have resorted to this despicable criminal act. What choice do I have? To give the password or not to give? That is the question that matters now. The drone gives a running commentary of what we have below us, and right now it is a crocodile farm. Thompson orders the drone to hover over it as he says, “it is a perfect place to open the trap door!” Sadist!

“Password, please!” One of them is losing patience. One thing I am good at is originality. So I give him the password to one specific vault compartment which houses one box labelled Dronexit#1. Their agent soon confirms by mobile phone he has successfully got the box thus labelled. So These two clowns gentlemanly turn me loose at the entrance to Dronesville.

As I reach the street where I live, I can hear my dog Gracie barking like the house is on fire. The agent has chained her to her house and she is frantic. When seeing me, she barks again with relief and glee. I soak myself in a nice hot bath and take time to chill out later with a tub of ice cream with green tea flavor. Ah, home sweet home. My door bell rings and I know from Gracie’s bark who the visitor is. Who else but my former English teacher?

She has come to pick up her box in my self-custody. The box labelled Dronexit#1. “Is it safe?” She asks. “Yes, I have guarded it with my life.” I answer calmly. I key in my password and a specific compartment of the vault opens and releases the right box for the right owner.

I never know what the box contains. Being apprenticed in detecting fake diamonds I have acquired a skill to produce fakes when needed. Yes, you are right. I produced a few copies of the box with different contents. The vault has many compartments and each has its own unique password. The genuine safe keeping items require both the password of the owner and the password of the custodian (me) to access.

By the time the two Thompsons realize that they have failed in their mission I would not be around in this house. My former English teacher just told me that the police authority have acquired the property because of the famous vault. Since they will move into the neighborhood there will be no need for me to do the nightly drone patrol anymore! Hurrah! I can then be free to pursue my obsession with history. Remember? I am employed by the treasure hunters. Treasure hunting in historical sites of course! (To be continued for the last episode)

fog Londonphoto: Misty morning: A view of London from Greenwich, with Canary Wharf on the right and the Shard on the left in the distance. (by James Morrow)

*Cast Away is a 2000 American epic survival drama film directed and produced by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, and Nick Searcy. The film depicts a FedEx employee stranded on an uninhabited island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific and his Robinsonade attempts to survive on the island using remnants of his plane’s cargo. The film was a critical and commercial success, and Hanks was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 73rd Academy Awards for his performance.


plagiarism memes surface Dronexit#24

quotes unseen“I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.” I hear this. As I ponder my fate of being stuck in the past instead of the future, I find myself in the time portal again! What a relief! As usual I have nothing to do than to rehearse the quotes in my head. The memes. The Pinterest. The Instagram. The whatever data I have been well fed as I grow up. Well, nerds, this is the best combination I can do today. This picture depicts the next worst case scenario if my robot goes wrong! What? You don’t like this? Excuse me! I think it’s really cool and chilling. Remember, you are not the one who is going to face my former English teacher who is now returning to Dronesville from her secret mission overseas. Am I not looking forward to see her if the robot time travel portal works perfectly? You bet. You try a day in Dronesville. Maybe the combination in the above picture of the day is more tolerable after all.


p/s: The Gen. X nerd-to-be lady who keeps complaining of my unpicturesque pictures please look beyond the surface. There is such depth and meaning deep down. Do me justice someone. I am not stupid you know.

pps: Mom just sends me this message! “Give me a break. You are not Elon Musk and I am not Maye Musk! Why can’t you stick to your millennial ranting about drones and robots and Pokemon Go? Now everyone starts asking me about you marooned in some silly Tom Hanks’ movie Castaway! The silly is for you and not Tom Hanks! BTW, I agree with that Gen.X lady. I don’t like your photos or whatever you call them! love and kisses, a harassed mom.

(Maye Musk is a model and dietician. Also the mother of Elon Musk, Kimbal Musk and Tosca Musk, she has been a model for 50 years appearing on the covers of magazines including Time.)

we search for memes-millennial jokes (Dronexit#22)

millennials then and now“A joke a day keeps the doctor away. LOL.”
“I am part of the millions of my generation who are addicted to meme culture. I follow more than 30 Instagram “meme accounts,” a combination of funny pictures mixed with relevant commentary. My generation turns to memes — our version of “joke searches” — so that we can connect and relate.”

Today I receive the above quotes from a millennial fellow nerd, saying exactly what I intend to do here as I switch off my history mode. The problem is what kind of joke am I in now? I have no joke right now as I cannot access the internet. My phone is restricted to receiving the social media group chat called Dronexit# which some nerd meme-jokers set up for me just for the laugh. No it’s not in Instagram or anywhere you may want to access. It is a private network. Anyway my own mind data storage is overloaded with historical quotes and keeps unloading right now.

Here is a good quote from an American WWII veteran.
An 18-year-old Bronx kid named Al “Duke” Dellaera recalls the initial hours that kicked off a grueling, six-month battle that helped turn the tide against the Axis Powers in World War II. Seventy years later, the Guadalcanal Invasion stands as a seminal moment in World War II, the beginning of the end of Japanese naval dominance in the Pacific Theater. It was the Allies’ first engagement with the Japanese Imperial Navy, which had for months been establishing bases and dominance throughout the Pacific Theater, threatening supply routes between the U.S. and Australia.
“There was so much action going on that you didn’t dwell on anything,” Dellaera remembered. “But believe me, I was afraid a lot of times before things got started. I’m not afraid to admit it. But when action started, that fear left you and you concentrated on doing what you had to do.
“They were desperate days,” he added, recalling times when he subsisted on maggot-infested oatmeal. “You’ll eat anything when you’re hungry. But I wanted to be there because the country was at war and I felt it was my duty.”
During one nighttime patrol along the Ilu River, Dellaera saw a “shadow up ahead” in the grass, just shy of where heavy vegetation began.
“It turned out to be a Japanese soldier … so there we were, face-to-face more or less, about 25 to 30 yards apart. He stopped and I stopped, and we just stayed there quietly. And he was probably thinking, ‘Did I see something there or was it my imagination?’ And I was thinking the same thing.”

The worst thing is I am still stuck in the history of heroic acts of the young people of the past. I have been teleported to Solomon Islands. On July 6, 1942, the Japanese landed on Guadalcanal Island and began constructing an airfield there. More than 11,000 Marines U.S. marines landed and launched a surprise attack on August 7, 1942 and took control of the air base under construction. The U.S. forces quickly took their main objective, the airfield, and the outnumbered Japanese troops retreated, but not for long. Reinforcements were brought in, and fierce hand-to-hand jungle fighting ensued.

“I have never heard or read of this kind of fighting,” wrote one American major general on the scene. “These people refuse to surrender.” The Americans were at a particular disadvantage, being assaulted from both the sea and air. Both sides endured heavy losses to their warship contingents. However, the Japanese suffered a far greater toll of casualties, forcing their withdrawal from Guadalcanal by February 1943. In total, the Japanese had lost more than 25,000 men, compared with a loss of 1,600 by the Americans. Each side lost 24 warships.(Quoted/excerpted from: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-forces-invade-guadalcanal)

Being a present day nerd and am stuck in this 1940s history of real war, is the most difficult and challenging impossibility that no nerd, however brave, would want to go through. There is only one thing I was good at. I can operate my digital robot as a sensor to detect the concentration of enemy forces in a location despite the jungle terrain. My solar power robot works well for this function only. So as I march in the swamp with the marines I function like a first rate metal detector. In today’s picture you can see a typical nerd (not me, of course) in striped pajamas with a cup of coffee. Well, it illustrates how incongruous a nerd is in the midst of brave marines charging at the enemy’s territory. LOL. (My many fellow nerds old and young are rolling on the floor in laughters or rather hysterics, for which I subsequently receive positive ‘like’ comments.) (To be continued)


Note: dictionary definition of memes
meme |mēm|
an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.
• a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.
memetic |mēˈmetik, mə-| adjective
1970s: from Greek mimēma ‘that which is imitated,’ on the pattern of gene.

The stubborn battle of Britain (Dronexit#20)

Hms_rainbow_bow“On the sea of turmoil some hang on to life stubbornly and live on.”(Stubborn millennial’s lesson.)The day of the week was Friday,October 4, 1940. HMS Rainbow was a Rainbow-class submarine built for the Royal Navy during the 1930s.The boats were armed with six 21-inch torpedo tubes in the bow and two more in the stern. They carried six reload torpedoes for a grand total of fourteen torpedoes. Rainbow served in the Far East until 1940. She left for a patrol off Calabria on 23 September 1940 and was due to be back in Alexandria on 16 October, she was last heard from on 25 September. She is believed to have been sunk on 4 October in a collision with the Italian merchant ship, Antonietta Costa, which reported striking an underwater object at 03:30, followed by a huge underwater explosion on that date. (I quote this part of the history because it is sad and seems that the British and Allies have lost ground to the enemy forces.)

But all is not lost for the good guys as evidenced by history. The Battle of Britain was a stubborn battle involving major air campaign fought over southern England in the summer and autumn of 1940,  between July and October 1940. The Germans began by attacking coastal targets and British shipping operating in the English Channel. They launched their main offensive on 13 August. Attacks moved inland, concentrating on airfields and communications centres. Nearly 3,000 men of the RAF took part in the Battle of Britain. While most of the pilots were British, men came from all over the Commonwealth and occupied Europe – from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Belgium, France, Poland and Czechoslovakia. There were even some pilots from the neutral United States and Ireland. Many people worked to defend Britain. Ground crew – including riggers, fitters, armourers, and repair and maintenance engineers – looked after the aircraft. Factory workers helped keep aircraft production up. The Observer Corps tracked incoming raids – its tens of thousands of volunteers ensured that the 1,000 observation posts were continuously manned. Anti-aircraft gunners, searchlight operators and barrage balloon crews all played vital roles in Britain’s defense. Anew danger had arisen. From the start of the war German submarines and surface craft, defying the convention which prohibited undeclared minefields dangerous to peaceful shipping, began to lay mines in British coastal waters. In September and October (1939 or 1940?) 59,027 tons of shipping were sunk by mines off the East Coast, in the Thames Estuary and elsewhere.

Well, I just think I might as well quote the above from horrible history in my mind data base so that other millennial nerds know what I am talking about. Crossing the channel in October 1940 is as easy as a nightmare. Mines underwater. Enemies’ planes overhead. The Christian Tandoori chef and his daughter are stubborn people. The man says, “We must cross tonight. We shall make it home alive!” The daughter nods her head and says, “Amen!” What option does a nerd from the future have against such stubborn and determined mind-set? NONE. So I nod my head and say, “Amen!”

My robot and mobile/cell phone remain quiet and still. They seem to be hibernating and I cannot get any signal at all. I am stuck in this 1940 horrible history whether I like it or not. But I can assure you it is very exciting and meaningful. It is far more interesting than playing the drone, the robot, and the Pokemon Go. The night becomes the most memorable night of my life.

As you can read from the picture I have included “close to death, six exhausted, freezing airmen are plucked to safety after surviving 11 days in a dinghy using their pants for a fishing net and their shirts as a sail.” “One can’t even begin to imagine the feeling of hopelessness and despair the men felt as day after day went by.” “Although they kept up morale by praying twice a day, two men became delirious.” This is real life. A stubborn struggle to hang on to life and hope, in the Atlantic 400 miles south west of Ireland. With limited supplies and no way to send an SOS, what followed was a desperate attempt to keep the crew alive. During the 11-day or­­­deal the men were capsized by huge waves, kept awake by freezing spray and had to bale out using their boots. They sucked rain-soaked handkerchiefs for water and tried to land fish in a pair of pants on a pole. But their only catch was foul-tasting jellyfish. After waiting close to the crash site for a week in the hope a search party would spot them, the survivors made a sail from two shirts to blow them towards safety. The dinghy’s speed picked up to two knots and after four days they were spotted by a British destroyer.*

What happens to our own tiny fishing boat and this fateful night? All I can write down is our captain is a brave man and he does not give up. He braves the dark night, the treacherous english channel waters, the threatening bombers, the deadly mines, and the worst of all, the fear of imminent death. It has taken him the whole night to battle the sea and its danger.

As we near the English side and see dawn, a German bomber appears overhead and we know all hopes are gone. The man and his daughter continue defiantly looking up and praying. Suddenly we hear another kind of engine. No, they are not engine sound. They are sounds from seven giant gulls. The winged giants fly powerfully and fearlessly towards the bomber head-on! The sight in the grey dawn is spectacular. The gulls look transparent and blend with a small round patch of blue sky that it brings with it but we can clearly see their outlines. They fly like they are the RAFs or even better. But they are not cold machines or hardwares. They are live birds. They are invincible. The bomber spots the giant birds and tries to fire at them in vain. The bomber panics and turns tail but it is too late. The birds encircle the bomber and capture it with their gigantic wings, forcing it to lose its engine power and plunge perpendicularly into the channel with an underwater explosion and sinks into its watery grave.

What do we do on the little French Brittany fishing boat? We give a standing ovation to the birds (or angels?). They fly over us and escort us until we reach British shore. It shows that it is good to be stubborn at the right time for the right goal after all. (To be continued)

(*The story about the six airmen surviving miraculously on a lifeboat is quoted from http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/amazing-story-downed-world-war-7579828)

“On the sea of turmoil some hang on to life stubbornly and live on.” (Stubborn millennial’s lesson.)

Winter craving (Dronexit#18)

hungry drone
I don’t know how long I have waited at the coast. The snow comes and the cold starts creeping in. I browse through my brain data base on horrible history, and find this information that immediately causes shivering down my spine: “The winter of 1939/1940 was one of the coldest on record, with persistent cold weather from 22nd December through January. Temperatures were the lowest for at least 100 years in many parts of Europe. It is now theorized that the intense military activity in the North Sea was responsible for disturbing the sea temperature and therefore the climate. The loss of heat from the sea led to more cold air from the arctic being pulled into the European region, resulting in much colder weather overall.”* I have a jacket on but it is not enough to ward off the cold. Even though it is only October I can feel that the winter has arrived earlier. My robot time portal cannot be reset to return to my time until three days later. I cannot override its setting. I have no choice but to move myself from the coast and seek a warm shelter if any.

As I walk inland I see trees with branches laden by heavy snow! There are very few houses and none have their lights on. The roads are empty of lives. It looks as though the War’s rampaging flood has devastated the whole countryside, leaving ravaged faces of despair on nature herself. To be honest, I am a millennial who has had very secure and well provided and pampered life in my youth. My working life was comfortable too. Even when I trotted round the three continents to hunt treasure I always had reasonably good food and shelters. My folks and my employers took good care of me. The world that I have lived in has been sensible up to now. I cannot make sense when I look at the great wars. I never like them and now find myself stuck in one! And the worst thing is I have no food. I crave for a freshly cooked, warm creamy, mixed seafood Spanish chowder served in a bread trencher. Or savory and fast kedgeree- Curry, fish, eggs, and rice make for an easy, mouth-watering British take on Indian cuisine. OR ANYTHING HOT. Even a Nashville Hot featuring a perfect blend of spicy cayenne and smoke paprika!

As I stumble on I see this girl again. She seems to expect meeting me on this deserted road, “Nice seeing you again, come with me.” We enter a tiny cottage which seems to be in darkness. But I see light after we enter and the heavy wooden door closes behind us. Someone is cooking at the stone stove. It is not really a stove. It is an Indian Tandoori stove and the man is bending over the opening. I smell Tandoori chicken***. My craving is soon over as I am well fed with chicken and a bread called Naan topped with garlic and green pepper. A surprise dessert too in the form of Andes chocolate mints**. But this does not make sense. I am in France eating Indian food and a chocolate first introduced in 1950? I must be dreaming or fantasizing in my virtual world. whatever it may be, I am enjoying myself after all. (To be continued)

About this picture: I took the Indian food pictures recently in a tropical country. The winter picture was taken last winter in USA by a friend. The really heavy snow came a day after I left.

The following info is from Wikipedia:
**Andes Chocolate Mints are small rectangular candies consisting of one mint-green layer sandwiched in between two chocolate-brown layers. The candies are usually wrapped in green foil imprinted with the company’s logo. First launched in 1950, they are produced by Tootsie Roll Industries and made in Delavan, Wisconsin.
***Tandoori chicken is a dish originating in the Indian subcontinent. It is widely popular in South Asia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Middle East and the Western world. It consists of roasted chicken prepared with yogurt and spices. The name comes from the type of cylindrical clay oven, a tandoor, in which the dish is traditionally prepared.
*winter weather passage quoted from: http://ww2today.com/a-cold-winter-arrives-in-europe

a profound starwar

a profound starwar

profound starwar2

profound starwar3It was an ordinary night and I was hurrying back across a narrow strait. The bus was crowded with millennials and everyone was engrossed with his or her own mobile. As we were approaching the other end of the bridge, I took photos at random out of boredom. I took about two dozen pictures not really looking at the subjects. A few days later I downloaded the pictures into my PC and looked at them. I found a series of star war scenes captured by my ordinary Samsung Galaxy…I look at them now and ask myself a few profound questions:
What have I really captured?
Are they aliens shooting in another realm?
Had the bus crossed into another dimension as it was loaded with tech know millennials?
Did we by mass clicking on the digital mobiles create a concentrated virtual zone where the virtual activities moved into the physical?
These are what we nerds consider as profound questions.

Note: The photos are in their original forms, unedited. But I had to reduce the size considerably.

dramatic Evacuation (Dronexit#17)

dronexit17“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …” of course I am plagiarizing from Mr. Charles Dickens. I am in this time portal for what seems like ages and all I can do is to record down my current thoughts using my mobile. Strange that my mobile can still be used for recording as I believe I am crossing into spaces not governed by earth laws. The trouble with earth is that we human have run out of original words and phrases but we have been super-drilled to quote clichés from school days. How not to plagiarize? You tell me. The current trend of viralizing (my newly coined word) in social media is the best example of we millennials running out of originality. LOL.

Enough of ranting about English (which is to satisfy my former English teacher). How is the ride? My young nerd friend, don’t try if you can avoid this. Well, I have set my target destination as 2040-a golden tech age according to the latest tech know guru-nerd magazine prediction.

The time portal is is a tiny robot which I strap onto my waist. Once I press the button ON it becomes an invisible opaque shield cum capsule all round me and teleport me to another time and space. I have the longest lasting Solar pack from an inventor I won’t name to avoid being accused of advertisement. I presume 2040 still functions with sunlight. I intend to get their latest mobile!

Everything suddenly stands still. My time portal reappears as a robot strapped to my waist again. I feel chilly. Where am I? I can hear geese. I see that I am on a seashore with jagged rocks and gloomy sky. It doesn’t look 2040. It looks more like some scenes from old English movies. My robot mobile blinking the time and date as 26th May 1940!

Impossible! Either I have keyed in the wrong year or the time portal has made a mistake. I check location. The screen blinks: RAMSGATE. Being one fond of reading horrible history, I know what this means. 700 private ships sailed from Ramsgate in England to Dunkirk in France between 26 May and 4 June 1940 to help rescue more than 338,000 Allied (British, French, Polish and Belgian) soldiers trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk during Second World War! My mobile starts broadcasting to me a call by King George VI attending a special service at Westminster Abbey, having declared a national day of prayer.

What am I doing here? I am not being punished to do a research on the evacuation or the battle at Dunkirk, am I? Why me? My negative mind starts whining. The thought of me being stranded in the possibly worst era in the past to do history essay writing is practically chilling. I cannot think of a worse penalty for an ex-student who flopped history.

This girl appears with a wounded(?) snow goose. I am now inside the story “Snow Goose” from Paul Gallico. “I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.” (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs). Another cliché line quoted from my mind data bank. I can’t help it. Unlike the original story I have not become the handicapped artist. This seems a new story after all. The snow goose is not wounded.

I smile at her and ask, “Do you speak English? Where are we?”
She smiles and replies in English, “Devon, France.”
I could have fallen off the cliff. I am not at the safe side of the channel? I am on the wrong side! What is the other story that involved Devon? I do a quick search in my brain. A British soldier left behind at Dunkirk, forced to be stranded in France for four months surviving on stealing from farmers’ kitchen and living in the wild. But there was a good ending because he managed to steal a fishing boat from Devon and sail home to Britain!

Then she says, “Tonight we cross the channel. Three of us. You wait here.” So we are crossing the channel ahead of the actual Dunkirk rescue? I ask to clarify, “What is the date today?” She looks puzzled. “4th October, 1940!”
The sudden changes of date and place no longer shock me. I know I am in a story so I am alright. Good thing I have not become the poor soldier who had to suffer four months as a fugitive being hunted by the enemy!
She soon disappears. I wait behind some rocks patiently for sundown. (To be continued)

The above picture is a snap shot of what I shall go through during the next phase of this time travel journey. Another narrow escape.

Unstoppable treasure hunt (Dronexit#14)

dronexit14 bird head“Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.” I copy this famous first line from PG Wodehouse’s “The Luck of the Bodkins”.

What can be more humiliating for a nerd than to be cornered and exposed? The worst thing is that no one will bail me out anyway if I should get into big trouble. “Teach you a lesson.” Most of the extended family members will say. I should have stayed French instead of wanting to be British. Maybe I would have had better luck. The family did not think high of me because I flung my college and went to Belgium. After an apprenticeship in the diamond trade I was given the boot. I joined the Roman legionarius (stuntmen of course) and was again given a discharge (not so honorary) at the end of my contract. Then I was employed by the King Solomon’s Treasure Hunt top secret project with a group of high-tech nerds. We went all over three large continents living in constant stress and treacherous conditions over a period of three years. That was how I got burn out and had to return home for a break. No, I am not a criminal as insinuated by the two crooks. It’s just that I cannot talk about my real assignment with anyone, not even family. I cannot get involved with the law. I have pledged secrecy in exchange for very high stake.

I now realize I don’t have the steely cool nerve and hawk-like alertness of 007 Bond. On the other hand, with luck I could cope as good as Johnny England. Since I am committed to such a confidential matter why do I bother to entertain the group of senior nerds? Well, I ask the same question too. Why do school kids do their homework? Because the teachers ask them to. I know this is not a good answer. But it just has to make do for now. I have more important thing to think over.

What were the wrong turns I made in my life?
1. choosing a career that calls for fictitious movie or best sellers’ characters like 007 James Bond, Ethan Hunt, Jason Bourne, or Indiana Jones.
2. coming home to Dronesville thinking that I can chill out here in peace and quiet hibernating in the midst of an ancient community.
3. making the assumption that no one here will be high tech enough to know that I am using my Plan-B robot.
4. worst of all, making the assumption that the senior retirees in this community will never be interested in technology and will definitely leave me in peace.

You ask, if I am that poor or sub-standard why do my Treasure Hunt employers employ me? Good question. I ask the same too. So there. No answer for you. What? You don’t like this blog because it doesn’t give away the answer? Okay. The answer is obvious. I can smell treasure. I am more accurate than any advanced tech gadget.

And I have a Plan-C. I am unstoppable. LOL. (To be continued)

p/s the picture shows how a cluttered nerd mind looks like.

The table turned the wrong way (dronexit#13)

drone crisisI am now accustomed to the unexpected. The door bell rings at 8am and it is bad news. Thompson and Thompson (not their real names) are at the door. Today the grand aunt is out of town and they seem to know.
“We might as well be frank with you, we are not from the FBI.” Having planted themselves comfortably on my arm chairs, one of them confesses. “Neither are we from M15.” Another adds. “Or KGB. Not German BND either.”
“We are from the Consumer Association.” One of them declares.
“Huh?” I almost fall off my chair.
“We are here to investigate a complaint.”
“Of a product.”
They continue in turn. To me it sounds like Greek. “What product?” I haven’t sold anything during the last twelve months. The last thing I sold was my old laptop before I came home.
“To be precise, the misuse of a product.” They explain.
“But I have nothing to declare. I have not purchased any new product for years.” (This is true as I use what others have purchased.)
“What we mean is that we have been observing you for quite sometime.”
“How?” I cannot believe my ears. One Thompson walks to my coffee table and take my mobile and smiles, “You see, this is our little spy! This led us to your exact location and where you were every time you ventured outside. We even know what you look at and what you are interested in. Of course we read all your chats and listen to all your calls.”
“But, but, but…” This self-professed nerd is speechless.
Thompson says, “Look, we are doing you a favor and we expect a favor in return.”
“You have misused a drone to do what it has no license to do.”
I know I am defeated so I ask,”How do you spy on me through this mobile?”
The two burst out laughing. “You mean you being a nerd and never know? through all the Apps of course! ”
“But I never allowed them to access my location etc.”
“Oh, that,” They laugh louder. “Don’t you know whether you allow or not they still access?”
“Huh?” I am now dumb-founded. The two have the upper hand. So I ask finally, “What do you want?”
“Just a small matter, the content of your grand aunt’s box labelled Dronexit#1.”
I know they are not going to tell me who they really are and why they are after the Dronexit#1. But I know I am cornered and there is no foreseeable rescue from anywhere. Like my former English teacher had said, these two are up to no good. She is the only M15 equivalent who can deter them. But she is now on her way to the airport.
“By the way, ” One Thompson says, “Don’t you nerds know the latest Pokemon Go too takes away your privacy?”
By now I no longer care. But I have no idea how to get them off my back.
Then one Thompson says, “Last night you were videotaped too when you spied on others. LOL.”
“Your robot is quite a gem. Multi-tasking and very entertaining. Where did you acquire or steal it? Any thought of selling it? No point leaving it idle as you might go to jail.” Another Thompson says.
“Your grand aunt will be away for three days and you still have plenty of time to think about what we are offering. Sleep on it.” Then they leave me sitting there feeling miserable and wallowing in self-pity. I think of my wasted life as a failed nerd. all the short-cuts I have tried to take and ended with wrong turns. (To be continued)

(This is part of a mini-series of somewhat ‘preposterous’ but ‘entertaining’ short stories I try to concoct for and communicate with my younger nerd-to-be relatives and older amateur-nerd cronies. Pure fiction except for the dog Gracie. The picture which I created from several photos taken in Tokyo one evening many years ago depicts a sadly confused and chaotic world with an overload of unfiltered and often biased and deceptive virtual data mingled with physical world but have no substance of value pertaining to teaching the young to value, honor and respect real life.)

what is in that box? dronexit#10

39 Steps 1978What I fear has come to pass. At 8am this Saturday morning I hear a door bell ringing like someone’s house is on fire. When I realize it is my doorbell I have to get up from bed and entertain whoever at the gate. Two identical men in black suit. They also wear bowler hats like the twin brothers Thompson and Thompson of TinTin fame. They represent the government secret service authority and want to question me what the parcel labelled Dronexit#1 contains. It is probably due to a leak through the social spy drone which hovers over my window a couple of times.

“What is in that box?” One man asks.
“Huh?” I blink a few times to make sure I am not having a nightmare.
The next man in black repeats his question, “To be precise, what is in that box that labels Dronexit#1?”
“Huh?” I open my mouth and gulp lungfuls of air, as if I am choking.
“I mean, what is in that box your grand aunt handed to you for safe keeping?” The first man asks.
Hundreds of possible answers race through my mind like flash cards my former English teacher used on those she described as a bit less visually functionally inclined to remember the English language.
“I don’t know, sir, maybe Dronexit?” I give it my best shot.
“What is a Dronexit?” The other man asks.
“I never think of what it is, sir.”
“I mean, have you never asked your grand aunt?” The first man asks.
“I never deem it polite or of a good manner to ask a senior a matter of privy, sir.” I explain respectfully to the authority.
“You mean you never know what you are safekeeping and yet agree to take charge of the box?” The two men take out enormous white handkerchieves and wipe their foreheads which are sweating profusely due to my accidentally deliberate increasing the heater to the maximum before I let them inside the house. And I have put the two arm chairs next to the floor vent which by now is emitting heat like a perfect Finnish sauna on a hot summer day. Droplets of sweat are running down their plump round faces like raindrops.
“No, sir, I never question my former English teacher, sir. We kids were never allowed to speak sir.” I know my answer is dumb but hopefully they will give up.
One man in black gets up and walks to the French window looking out through the curtain. The other man gets up and follows suit. They confer with each other for awhile and turn back to face me.
“Yes, we understand the undue terrorizing psychological influence a formidable English teacher could have had on a simple juvenile mind.” They speak in unison. “We gather that you are not going to cooperate with us even if you know the content?”
“No, sirs.” I shake my stubborn head.

Suddenly my dog Gracie starts barking loudly followed by a big commotion out there in my front yard. By now I know from the intensity and volume of the dog’s and human’s noises who has just arrived and demands to enter the yard despite Gracie’s reluctance to give way. The two men in black look outside and turn pale together. They stop their interrogation and look at me pleadingly.
“Good young person, you won’t object if we exit through the back door? Will you?”
“Huh?” I cannot believe I have heard correctly. But they repeat their plead.
Seeing I cannot comprehend, they utter in unison, “You see, we are her ex-pupils too!” Then they make a beeline running out of my back door which happens to be unlocked. I can see them running to the back lane and trying to make a detour to their parked car a block away.

They underestimate the visual acuity and physical agility of my former English teacher when it comes to catching her former pupils. By then she has spotted them and despite her high heels and umbrella handicaps, she runs pretty fast and is soon close behind them.

From a distance I can hear her shrieking, “You two, Thompson and Thompson, why are you running? Surely you are up to no good again. Wait till I get my umbrella on you!”

As for me, I turn off the heater, take out a tub of ice cream, sink into my couch and turn on the 39 Steps 1978 movie starring Robert Powell. Yes, I am chilling out in my perfect sanctuary. A perfect chill out. (I am sure the Thompson and Thompson will try their best to serve the former English teacher as they seem quite civil and respectful gentlemen after all.)

p/s: Alas, my former English teacher happens to be my grand aunt too.

the depth of a dog (Dronexit#8)

dog head
This is how my dog Gracie becomes the drone patrol hero instead of me. By popular request (from my remotely extended clan, seniors and nerdy dog loving cronies etc.) I decide to dedicate this chapter to the dog in depth so you won’t think of her as a mere caricature, stereotype, or cliche.

She has come to our family as an abandoned new born. She probably has labrador retriever blood in her but she neither retrieves nor can she swim. She belongs to the house as many of us travel in and out and whoever is around adopts her as his or her personal dog. Despite her being uninterested in being trained she is smart in many ways. For example she can stealthily sink her canine teeth into your shoe with such precisely calculated depth without hurting you foot a bit. Her motive is to deter you from causing harm to yourself or others.

On the second night of my drone patrol Gracie comes along but this time she wears a muzzle. I am confident of a good and peaceful night out. After setting off the drone to do its patrolling, I sit on a park bench and play with my newly acquired Pokemon Go**, submerging into the world of augmented reality (AR).* Having fortified myself during the day by sleeping I am now alert and fresh. I have the whole little park to myself and a few aliens are floating nearby for me to conquer and capture. What more can I ask for?

A physical commotion which does not come from my virtual world wakes me from my solo bliss. Gracie is running like crazy chasing her aliens too! She plays her version of Pokemon Go? I marvel at the sight. I decide to follow her and solve the mystery of a dog (not a human) without a mobile being able to detect or receive digital signals and actually see the overlays in the virtual world without wearing or holding a digital gadget? What a discovery which will sure make me million.

That is how we start having the real adventure of tonight’s drone patrol. Gracie runs furiously ahead with me tailing her and running like a mad person over uneven terrain cluttered with many natural and artificial obstacles in the middle of the night in a park surrounded by a ring of houses. Gracie is growling loudly at something, which has no business to be around, she obviously sees or smells despite the muzzle. I am just running without any clue or direction. Then I see a huge shape of something falling from a tree, crashing into the bush, rolling down the stone steps, splashing into the pond. It is like a KungFu movie stuntman in slow motion revealed by the superbly positioned spotlight of the supernaturally bright moonlight. It is a man in black. Before he can struggle to his feet in the slimy fungus infested pond, our Gracie (who by then has shaken off her muzzle) jumps into the pond wth her 20,000 megawatt amplified ferocious roar and sinks her canine teeth into his leg/foot.

Once again, like the previous drone patrol night, all the lights are suddenly switched on. Every resident of this retirees’ community comes out with baseball bats/golf sticks/ shotguns in hand. While I try to figure out why Gracie has picked on that poor guy Gracie finally lets go and comes out of the water with her trophy, the drone in her mouth. That thief has intercepted our drone and Gracie has retrieved it!

Well, this is how Gracie, a dog, has decidedly become the dronexit hero number one of the neighborhood of senior nerds. (To be continued)

*Quoted from Mashable:
Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one. Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world.

**Quoted from nyTimes: Many technology companies thought A.R. might first take off through specialized business applications that, for example, allow architects to visualize finished building projects in situ. Instead, it took a game based on a beloved entertainment franchise from the mid-1990s in Japan to help the technology go mainstream.
Pokémon Go represents one of those moments when a new technology — in this case, augmented reality or A.R., which fuses digital technology with the physical world — breaks through from a niche toy for early adopters to something much bigger. The idea behind the technology is to overlay digital imagery on a person’s view of the real world, using a smartphone screen or a headset.
In the case of Pokémon Go, players traverse the physical world following a digital map, searching for cartoon creatures that surface at random. People look through their smartphone cameras to find Pokémon. When an animated creature appears, they toss Pokéballs at it until it is subdued. (http://www.nytimes.com/)