Voicemail Philosophy from 2342

The fear of previous generations was technology eroding away our humanity.  They grew up with Borg on TV, Hal9000 making very calm threats and Google Ad-Words tracking their every step.  Don’t even start on those Terminator films.  Black Mirror told them their lives were becoming less social, tech was manipulating their minds and ruining the very core of their essence.  Pop culture made an enemy out of technology and enemies sell well.

I pity those generations of days gone by for they were not allowed to see the humanity of technology.  Tech was and is gorgeous, complex, chaotic, lovely, friendly, temperamental.  It breaks and ages and learns and grows and does not quite understand what comes after it, but makes a good effort to be compatible.  Tech, one might say, is created in our image.  Tech is human.

Humanity had nothing to be afraid of as it began to use more and more technology in every day life.  We took our tech to the forests and recorded rare creatures.  We took our tech underwater and discovered new species.  We took our tech to space and created homes.  Tech helped us understand each other better, read emotions better, communicate faster and deeper and wider.  Technology enhanced our humanity.

Of course, it did change the actual shape of humanity.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my current chassis and no one in 1912 thought they would have tires for feet, and worry about radiator fluid on the lungs, but there are times I wonder what shoes feel like.

That’s the end of my letter.  The guys and I are in full ‘camper’ mode this weekend and heading up the hill to watch birds.  My phone will be off, but holo-text me if needed.

 

Peace out, home slice.

Sorry about the vocal message.  Trying to keep with the old school feel of the weekend.

A Quest Received

“On the eve of the first frost, the sentry of wild will wake.  This avatar of man’s demise will be joined by a rider, cloaked in darkness and atop a horse of strictly bone.  Together, Sentry and Rider will test your species, humans, and I fear you will not fair well.” The squirrel said.

The words fell heavy on the group of heroes, regular people no more than a month ago, thrust into a position of power, standing before the squirrel.  Fresh off their most recent victory, news of another fight was demoralizing.  The joyful rest they had earned gave way to fear.  Feet shuffled nervously, every stomach twisted into knots.  The five heroes had the wind knocked out of them.

All except Sandy, that is.  Sandy was trying to hide her laughter and failing tremendously.

“Sorry, guys,” she said as the chuckling hit uncontrollable.

“Sandy, for the reals, this is a serious omen from Lord Tolor,” Bea tried to calm her teammate.

“Does no one else find Lord Tolor absolutely adorable? I can’t be the only one.  Each prediction of our untimely demise is cuter than the last,” Sandy explained.

Tony laughed once, “you know, she has a point.”

“Be that as it may, you must begin your training immediately.  I must go now.  There’s a hummingbird feeder I simply must investigate,” Lord Tolor said.  His bounced away and the team went to work.

 

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Common Conversations with My Toddler

Toddler: Dad, can we listen to the Thomas song?

Me, wincing: Like the train? You want the Thomas song?

Toddler: Yeah!

Me, not wanting to destroy the young human’s spirit, but also dreading the next fifteen minutes as the song is played on loop: Okay, buddy. I’ll tell the robot to play the song.

Toddler, already dancing: Thanks!

Me, muttering: If you weren’t so adorable.

Toddler, singing: Thomas and his friends!

Me, fifteen minutes later: We need to pick a new song, big guy! What do you want?

Toddler: uh..uh…uh…um.. Thomas!

Me: Fiddle sticks. One last time.

Toddler: Yeah! Thanks!

 

 

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The Assistant’s Question

“Welcome home, Taggart.  I hope your day was productive.  While you were out I made three adjustments to the internal temperature of the house and one mouse was discovered.  Shall I call an exterminator?” The robotic voice of Taggart’s home AI called out as soon as he opened the door.

“Good evening, Home.  How was your day?” Taggart asked.  He put his briefcase and wallet on a table next to the front door and went about the motions he followed every single night.  Predicable, safe and typical; exactly how Taggart enjoyed his evenings after days full of chaos and uncertainty.

“Other events of the day included a slight change in water pressure in the refrigerator and a neighbor boy rang the doorbell.  He intended on selling you popcorn.  Shall I call an exterminator?” Home asked.

Taggart paused the customary action of removing his belt, step one in changing out of his work clothes and into less formal costuming.

“Home, one more time?” He requested.

“A water pressure change in the ice maker caused a tray to be filled undersized.  The problem was corrected.  A pre-teen child approached the house at 3:52pm, he towed a red wagon full of popcorn for purchase.  I refrained from the solving that problem myself.  Shall I call an exterminator?” Home asked again.

Taggart could not restrain his shock.  “Home! We do not exterminate children attempting to solicit popcorn sales from their neighbors.  That was probably Tim’s kid.  Do not exterminate Tim’s kid you square Dalek!”

“For the mouse, Taggart.  Shall I call an exterminator for the mouse?” Home asked.

Taggart’s relieved sigh spoke volumes.  “Yes, oh thank goodness, yes. Call someone for the mouse.  I’ll call Tim and buy some popcorn.”

 

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I’m part of a newly launched RPG podcast “Cursed By Dice” come check out the website and first episodes here: https://cursedbydice.wordpress.com/

 

The Robot Made Art

“Jenkins, come quick!” Old Man Wilson called.  “The R&D lab has finally done it! They’ve created an AI capable of art.  We no longer need an advertising department.”

Jenkins ran to his boss’ voice and hoped the claim was false.  Jenkins was the advertising department.

“Look at this series of haiku the little scamp put together,” Old Man Wilson handed Jenkins a print out of what the robot created.

Haiku is great for
Anyone who needs stories
To end with fire.

They are wonderful
For all time and occasion
When fire is good.

Fire will cleanse all
Fire will save the planet
Fire fire flame.

“Isn’t it funny?” Old Man Wilson asked, laughing.  “This thing will destroy us all the second we give it a body.”

“That project is coming along nicely, sir,” one of the R&D scientists said gleefully.

“Splendid!  Jenkins, start writing up an ad apologizing for the destruction of society at the hands of pyromaniac robots will you?” With a slap to Jenkins’ shoulder, Old Man Wilson walked away and the robot began printing more haiku.

 

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A Captain and Crew Come to Terms

“Yar,” the old sea dog said, moving a telescope away from his eye, “there be a mighty island coming fer us, maties.”

The crew squirmed.  Feet shuffled and uncomfortable glances were exchanged.  Whispers followed.  The Captain noticed.

“What be ye whispering ’bout, ye scurvy sea rats?” The Captain asked.  He turned to face his crew.

The first mate cleared his throat and spoke truth. “Sir, we just, the crew I mean, we want to talk to you in regard to your vernacular.”

The Captain raised an eyebrow.  “Do ye now? And what about me words of choice has ye so bothered, First Mate Jenkins?”

“Well, and just to be frank here sir, please remember this is a constructive dialog that will help us all be better sailors and that is the real end goal here,” First Mate Jenkins attempted to set the tone of the conversation, “We feel your particular choice of words is a tad old fashioned and cliched for the modern industry that has cropped around the concept of a privateer.”

“Well, shiver me timbers you mutinous bilge rats! I’d be insulted if not for me wooden leg insulating me from emotional damage,” The Captain was horrified by his crew.

“Sir, I don’t even know how to respond to that so will ignore it.  Is it possible to just speak as a typical ship’s captain in the 21st century?” The First Mate pleaded.

“Jeepers, Bob, you’re such a buzzkill.  Go about your regular duties, crew.  Know that if I see anyone playing Clash of Clans before the deck is clean, I will make you walk the plank.  Cliche or not, I will throw you overboard.  Dismissed.”

 

 

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Frank at the Station

The family road trip was one tank in and going well.

“Alrighty, gang, we have to stop for gas real quick,” Frank Jenkins said, pulling the SUV he found to be just a tad too large, into the gas station.

“Dad,” his oldest son, seven years, Theodore, started.  Frank knew the tone as one that came with a very lengthy question. “Why do cars need gas?”

“Well,” Frank started, relived that the question was actually fairly easy, “engines need gas to run.  Gas is a fuel, which is burned to help the car move.”

“Oh,” Theodore was content with the answer.  “What is the engine made of?”

“An engine is made of smaller components that come together to make the whole unit, but I think you’re asking a different question so I’ll answer with…metal?” Frank hoped he answered the query correctly.

“Oh,” The curious seven year old replied.

“Dad!” The highly enthusiastic three year old of the family, Hyde, shout asked his opening question, “what are people made of?”

Frank stared at Hyde, trying not to laugh.  “You should ask you mother.”  He looked to Elene in the passenger seat, smiled and quickly jumped out of the car to begin fueling.