I was reading at the library when I got a phone call from my boss. She asked me to immediately return to home because of a not-so-unusual & escalating disobedient kids situation.
I got onto my feet and started to pack my bag. I eyed the cord of my laptop charger, the way it snaked itself over the floor, and ended up in a socket overly close to the feet of a random lady.
I approached her and gesticulated it would require her attention to resolve the situation. She read it and started to unplug my charger but was not able to get it out. She gave up quickly, and I had to help her. And so I successfully managed to unplug it under grant of an informal intimate zone intrusion permission. Once unplugged, I said, “Thank You”, and she responded “Thank You”.
It was an interesting Double Thank You for the help situation: I thanked her for permitting me to enter her intimate zone, and I thanked her for her initial failed attempt of helping me. Then she thanked me back for being polite and helpful enough to help her when helping me.
On a sunny spring day, I craved for steak and went to see my good old barbecue on the patio. But I found it ill-conditioned. The rain in Bergen had finally taken its toll on the rusty little boy: the price of storing and using it outside during winters now had to be paid. So I questioned myself whether to buy a new one — a larger and better one. Filled with ambivalence, I went to the retailer and found a big fat man. Upgrading is a bliss. Ka-ching.
Some years ago I used to work for an oil & gas company. In that context — I visited a site we had some cross-business activity with — located in Houston, Texas. Upon arrival I was told to settle in the empty cubicle of another engineer on vacation. On the cube wall I noticed a drawing showing a comparison between two versions of the site’s main product: the legacy 15k psi ram BOP (Blow-Out Preventer), and the next 20k psi generation. Let me add that the size of such equipment does not grow linearly with the pressure rating, so the next version was a fat man compared to the little boy.
Typically, when bad oil spill disasters take place, the BOP is likely to be in the spot. The BOP acts as the main security system resting on top of the very well head. They are used to seal wells under normal conditions, as well as in emergency situations. In case of the latter, the BOPs have strong hydraulic shear rams fitted with sharp steel blades. They can cut through any solid obstacles (e.g. drill pipe) situated — intentionally or not — in the bore. The aim is to seal the well and prevent oil spill, or even blow-outs on the rig deck — usually leading to fire, havoc and death.
I noticed, printed with small letters beneath each of the two drawings; “Little Boy”, “Fat Man”. It took me a couple of seconds before I realized the meaning. Call it irony, sarcasm or blasphemy — the reference was to the respective nukes detonated by US over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
It also got me thinking about the two I now have on the patio back home.
As a kid I figured out how to edit my father’s config.sys and autoexec.bat to change font colors in MS-DOS. Without the help from the internet, it was such a mysterious age where small technological discoveries were made based solely on trial and error, gossip, obscure scripts, tools and white papers spread on LAN parties and floppies.
The trick was to load the binary file ansi.sys using the DEVICE= directive in config.sys, enabling escape sequence interpretation to the standard output — which included means for changing the background and foreground font color on the command prompt.
I later installed Red Hat Linux 5.2 in 1998, but after a while I ended up compiling my own “distro” based on Linux from Scratch. My favourite nostalgic piece of memory is still my only ANSI art creation to date, namely my /etc/issue (image shown above), born based on piping and overlying Tux from Welcome2L (c) LittleIgloo.Org on a classical Windows 9x blue screen of death replica!
UPDATED 17/8-18: Added Android wallpaper version of BSOD Tux.
I tend to notice small things in life. Combined with some pondering, they can make me unusually happy. Today I proudly present one of my favourite curiosities of all time:
The priceless, harassing laughter of the Ashlad’s older brothers.
The sound clip is taken from the legendary stop-motion animated short by Ivo Caprino, which is based on the Norwegian folk tale “Askeladden og De Gode Hjelperne” (English: “The Ashlad and His Good Helpers”) [ref. 02:43].
For some reason, DailyMotion.Com has taken the liberty to publish the full original movie online. I believe Caprino would have flipped in his grave if he knew. And I wouldn’t be surprised if his family company considers even more advanced gymnastics alive!