This is one of the songs featured in the video game “Portal 2” as you explore an abandoned underground testing facility after you wake up from 27,000+ years of cryosleep. You hear the decaying computers and machinery in the facility, covered with plant growth: the sawtooth-wave arpeggios of the damaged and malfunctioning machines, counterbalanced by the organic bass flute sound of the giant potatoes and other leafy plants growing upward through the ceiling through multiple floors, reaching for the sunlight far above. Think of it as a tone poem.
In the game, a prerecorded announcement tells you:
“If you are a non-employee who has discovered this facility amid the ruins of civilization, welcome! And remember: testing is the future, and the future starts with you. Good work getting this far, future-starter! That said, if you are simple-minded, old, or irradiated in such a way that the future should not start with you, please return to your primitive tribe and send back someone better-qualified for testing.”
The best days of owning a boat, the saying goes, is the day you buy it, and the day you sell it. Friends of ours found that out the hard way recently.
He had bought a large offshore boat last year, the make, model and size of which I am unaware, since I have never seen it. He spent a lot of money on it to get it shipshape, and finally he took it out last week, with his wife and several friends.
The weather changed, it began to rain, the seas grew rough, and the motor died. They were 25 km offshore, well out of sight of land. The radio did not work, the GPS did not work, they were out of cellphone range, and they did not have an EPIRB beacon. And they began taking on water in the rough seas as the waves began slopping over the stern.
Some of the passengers began bailing while his wife began to pray. Then his brother pulled out an ancient flip-phone, which had enough punch to make contact with a cellphone tower on land. He called for help, and Sea Tow came to rescue them. They had no idea where to tell Sea Tow to find them, however, until they scrounged up an old handheld GPS unit to provide coordinates.
His wife was furious with him for endangering their lives by being so poorly prepared. She is still furious. To his credit, however, he admitted his mistakes, and he put the boat up for sale today.
The day they sell it will be the best day of boat ownership, for both of them.
I was walking the neighbor’s dog so that we both could get some exercise. As we approached a drainage pond, I saw a juvenile alligator, about 1.75m long, sunning itself on the bank. I was a meter above it, on the roadway. As I approached, the dog spooked the alligator, which abruptly thrashed its way into the culvert underneath me. I waited for it to come out again, but it did not.
I wished I had had the notion to take a picture.
This is a funky tune from Blancmange’s most recent album, “Semi Detached”.
I did not realize the song was a cover of a 1976 tune by the German avant-garde rock band Can.
I am in the process of establishing a new Forward Operating Base to serve my mission in a distant city. I don’t like the idea of having to maintain a main base and an FOB at the same time, because my needs are small; but since I spend so much time at work, it’s necessary to have a base that’s local to work. Hence my new FOB.
It will be interesting to have my own space again, after decades of marriage and sharing the main bunker with darling wife. She’s not thrilled about the idea either, except that it is for a short term, of several months or a couple of years. So eventually I will demolish this FOB and evacuate back to the main base. That gives her comfort.
I will be accruing materiel and supplies for my new FOB in the coming weeks. I don’t need much, but now that it’s certain to be built, darling wife wants to help make the FOB homey. Unfortunately I prefer things spartan and blank. Most of my FOB will be empty space, which is the way I like it. There is no point in filling it with stuff that will simply be jettisoned when my mission is over.
It will take some effort to prevent darling wife from making the FOB too homey.
I always liked this tune. It’s the perfect blend of melody, bombastic beat, and discordance.
It has been insanely busy lately. Work has taken up entirely too much of my time, due to unfortunate circumstances. A co-worker became caught in a crossfire between three warring managers, and became a casualty, terminated abruptly on a Friday; and one of the three warring managers was unceremoniously booted off the team. So the project is in chaos. I am keeping my heads down and smiling and trying to be as helpful as possible. My ex-co-worker does not care – he already has another job, plus a second one waiting in the wings. If it turns out well, I may follow him. We shall see.
Meanwhile, we continue to fight the burgeoning jungle which has renewed its vigorous summer growth. I saw a “news” article that said the planet’s vegetation has doubled the amount of green leaves to soak up the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which makes the global warming alarmists unhappy because the plants are counterbalancing the alleged warming allegedly caused by carbon dioxide. Then again, CO2 levels are much less now than they were millions of years ago on this planet. Most “news” stories focus on how high CO2 levels have risen in the past 50 years, 10,000 years, or million years, but if memory serves, CO2 levels were several times higher 100-200 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the planet. Therefore I am not very concerned, except for the ocean acidification, which can kill the plankton on which the entire biosphere depends.
Not my planet, not my problem. Besides, this planet is quite resilient. After a major event such as a comet strike, mass volcanic eruption, epidemic, extinction or other collapse, the planet quickly rights itself in a matter of millenia. So the concerns of an ephemeral species, and the concerns of politically-motivated elements within that species, simply don’t matter. The planet has survived several billion years so far, with repeated comet strikes, mass extinctions, orbital perturbations, and even wild swings in solar activity. It’s still here, even if 99 percent of the species that once roamed its surface aren’t. The only constant is change.
Onward and upward.