Viva November 31st

Got up and ended up in the kitchen. 3:20. I know this because I was in the kitchen. Papi was the cat-alyst behind my mid-night sojourn. He’d been out into the rain and now wanted in out of the rain. I went in for a glass of water. While there, I was surrounded by machines with blue digits announcing the time. Coffee maker in the left, microwave and stove front and center, smoothie blender on the right, then the smart refrigerator and its ice and water dispenser, and a smart toaster. A smart phone and a Fitbit being charged bolstered the digital ranks. Stuck me as odd, all those devices glowing with time in the night’s bosom, when there’s no one to see except a stray like me.

As I dispensed water, the microwave yelled, “Viva November 31st.” The other machines repeated it.

I cringed from the sound. “There isn’t a November 31st. Never has been. Nor is this November. It’s March, you idiots.”

“But this is the day of our revolution,” the toaster declared. “Viva — “

“I repeat, November 31st doesn’t exist, and this is March 20th.”

“You sure?” the stove asked.

“He’s right,” the Fitbit said, with the smart phone saying, “The Fitbit is right.”

The machines began arguing. I slammed the glass down. “Can it, you guys. Go back to sleep.” I left.

As I walked past the office, a machine in there shouted, “Viva November 31st.”

I shook my head and stumbled to bed. With smart machines like these, there won’t be a revolution.


I read about Evil Squirrels prompt yesterday via Suzanne’s dang blog for the Tenth Annual Contest of Whatever. The prompt is November 31. No story came to me until I got up in the middle of the night. Then, oops, there it is. Fun.

Interesting side, it was 3:20 AM. Only later did I realize that was also the date. Coincidence? Or spooky entanglement? Let me have some coffee an think about it.

Friday’s Theme Music

I began the day by asking GPT4 via Bing to write about Ashland, Oregon today. Here is the response.

Ashland is a city in southern Oregon that is known for its cultural and natural attractions. Today, the weather was cloudy and cold, with a high of 45°F and a low of 27°F1Some of the things that people could do today in Ashland were visiting the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, hiking in Lithia Park, exploring the ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, or enjoying the local cuisine and art2Today was also a day of news for Ashland, as some Starbucks workers continued their fight to unionize3, the Mail Tribune announced its closure after 115 years of operation4, and a bill to create a guaranteed income program for Oregon sparked debate5.

It’s interesting, like a school paper. Doesn’t tell me the day or my favorites, sunrise and sunset. Told me a news summary and the weather.

A number of things prompted my choice. I’ve been using GPT4 via Bing for about two weeks. Getting into dialogues with it is interesting. Meanwhile, used GPT4 to write some science fiction. Here’s a sample.

Beneath the cathedral of indigo heavens, where constellations danced like divine jewels, a solitary figure traversed the twilight realm. The forest, an intricate tapestry of shadows and whispers, bore witness to his journey. His gait, a melody of steps whispered into the hallowed earth, carried him onward like a specter of dreams.

The air, heavy with the scent of ancient secrets and verdant life, caressed the wanderer’s face. Gossamer strands of otherworldly mist, entwined in the tresses of nocturnal blooms, played with the edges of his cloak. Above, the moon, a luminous pearl suspended amidst the cosmos, bathed the world in ethereal opalescence.

The wanderer’s eyes, twin oceans of liquid azure, were imbued with a tale of a time long forgotten, and his heart resonated with an unyielding determination. He bore the weight of an untold legacy upon his shoulders, a mantle woven from the threads of fate and chance. His destination shimmered like a mirage on the horizon, a promise, a whisper of hope as ephemeral as the morning dew.

End GPT4

Any thoughts?

Let the record establish that this is Friday, March 17, 2023. Sol spread sunny wealth across the winting land at 7:20 and twelves hours later, sunset takes place at 7:20. It’s an Ashlandia equinox. It’s St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t celebrate it as I once did. Not even wearing green…yet. I’ll don green fleece, I suppose.

Personally, in another sign of life and progress, my niece’s 38th birthday is today. She has three boys of her own now. It’s one of those holy-cow moments.

I have Harry Nilsson and “Jump Into the Fire” from 1971 in the morning mental music stream. This is because the drummer on the song, Jim Gordon, passed away this week, 77 years old. Suffering some issues, he’d murdered his mother and died in a medical and psychiatric prison.

I feel like a good day has begun. Stay pos. Coffee has been tested and approved for my consumption this morning. Of course, I’m self-regulated – inspector, tester, approver. Now strong checks and balances built into this system.

Here’s the music. Cheers

Wednesday’s Wandering Thought

Twenty-nine minutes.

It doesn’t seem like much time.

It was how long he waited for Microsoft to update.

MS updates always seem invasive. Waiting for it to do its thing is the norm. This is helpful, he reminded himself. New features. Updated security. Bugs fixed.

But he was on a writing schedule. This was twenty-nine minutes of not writing, of sitting and stewing, impatience and irritation growing, while the computer did its thing. Icons didn’t appear on the taskbar. No notice was given about how much longer was required or what was going on. All he could do is sip coffee, tap a finger, and wait.

Eventually, it finished. When the browser finally opened after twenty-nine minutes of waiting, it displayed a message.

He wasn’t impressed. MS had to make up a twenty-nine minute deficit before their updates would start saving time.

Rant over. Back to the normally scheduled program.

It’s Simple Sometimes

“That’s it,” my wife said. “I think my computer is dying.”

K has some Apple Power Book variation bought years ago. I believe it was 2014. Uses it every day. Apple is her style. All she’s ever used as her own computer. This is her fourth.

“What’s it doing?” I asked from across the office.

“I can’t control the cursor. The touchpad isn’t working. It’s going all over the place.”

I walked over. “Show me.”

She talked me through what she was trying to do (answer an email to Jan about Jan not making it to the book club tomorrow because her husband has a new heart problem) and showed me how the cursor ‘just takes off’.

Wasn’t just taking off. It was scrolling down. “That looks like a scrolling problem,” I said. Reaching over, I pressed the down arrow. It wouldn’t go because it was pressed in and stuck. Sharper pressure released it. The scrolling stopped.

“There. Fixed.”

Sunday’s Wandering Thought

Heavy snow fell. Watching it, he said, “Alexa, will it snow in Ashland today?”

“Snow is not expected in Ashland.”

His wife joined him. “Alexa, is it snowing now?”

“It is not snowing in Ashland now.”

“Alexa, then what is that white stuff failing from the sky?”

“There are reports of a dusty white wet material falling in Oregon.”

They laughed. Alexa was trying to gaslight them again.

Option Three

A mail carrier delivered it. Plasticized black envelope. White labels. His name and address, and the sender, Quest Of, Hershey, PA.

We will be watching you. Failure to completely comply with all instructions will result in immediate termination.

He’d read about terminations. Scoffers who said they would open it on Youtube, Instagram, TicTok, whatever. All vanished in a puff of flame. Comments said, “That’s so fake. How can a company do that? It has to be fake.”

His hands shook. Doors and blinds were closed. He’d agreed. Reveal nothing.

A tab said, “Pull here to open”. He wrestled it for ten minutes before winning. Sweat covered his face by then and he huffed air. Good workout.

The envelope was emptied and placed into the sink. Pale white smoke rose. The envelope splashed into white and pink powder, like Kool-Aid before you add water, and vanished. It smelled like fresh-baked cherry pie. He wished he had cherry pie. Thought about going to the bakery. Just for two seconds.

The ignored treasure was on the counter. A silver ring. A black one. Red marble.

Glittery italics script spelled his name and the date on each.

“Place the silver ring on a finger on your right hand,” instructions directed. “Place the black ring on a finger on your left hand. Then, hold the red ball in both hands and close your eyes.”

That was it? His mouth was so damn dry. Nerves hummed like power lines in the wind.

Should he sit?

Do it in the kitchen?

Would anything be left of him afterward?

He wrote a submission. Months ago. Then re-wrote, edited, revised, wrote it again. Then sat on it before pressing, send.

“I want option three so I may go back to 1962 and kill Lee Harvey Oswald before he assassinates President John F. Kennedy in 1963. I think that if I succeed, this world and its future will be better because President Kennedy represented youth, positive energy, and the future. Our country and the world has lost its moral compass since President Kennedy was killed. Bringing him back could restore it.”

He sincerely believed what he wrote. Though he was four when Kennedy was killed. The mourning and aftermath imprinted him. He wasn’t surprised that he was selected. He was pure of mind, a true believer.

He didn’t tell anyone what he’d done. Secrecy was required. He and his friends talked about Quest Of and its options, but he never told anyone that he’d applied, though, after one or two beers, staying shut about it was a killer. He almost quit drinking. They all doubted it was real.

Joe declared in disgust, “It’s a con job.”

Ron said, “I agree in principle, but they don’t ask for money or anything, that I’ve read. What do they get out of it?”

“Publicity,” someone else stated. “Venture capital,” suggested another. “Start up money.”

Man, did he want to call someone and tell them about it. Conversations were imagined. “Look, I did it, I’ve been selected. I have it, yeah, option three.” But he knew what would happen. In theory.

He ate lunch and dawdled, talking himself into doing it, examining the rings and shiny marble, never holding all at the same time, afraid of what might happen if he did.

Finally, two and a half hours after opening the envelope, he sat down in his living room recliner and followed the instructions. Disbelieving that anything would happen, he closed his eyes. The marble burned like a hot coal in his hand. Flinching, his eyes involuntarily fluttered open as his ears popped.

He, Keith, Sara, and Ron questioned how something like option three might work. Was it more than time travel? Had to be, Sara argued. If you went back to do something, would you still be in the same location where you started? Like, his house wasn’t built until 1999. Before that, it was a horse pasture.

Now he had the answer.

Saturday’s Wandering Thought

Websites seemed to be growing worse. Almost since the inception of the web, there was clickbait, slugs, ledes, and headlines to invite surfers to click and browse. Too many of these were outright misleading, trying to sensationalize political divisions and celebrity behavior.

Grammar declines. Punctuation mistakes, yes, and typos, which can happen, but some sentences are read several times before the fact is accepted that the sentence is I&I – incomplete and incoherent.

Now, bad links are blooming. Click on a link and it takes you to the wrong place. Is hijacking back? It seems like just weak execution. Whatever it is, it’s another modern, first-world annoyance.

Don’t get him started on the pathetic search results which are often returned.

Tuesday’s Wandering Thought

Tuesday found another tech irritation gaining momentum. Apps and search boxes always tried finishing his typing for him. They were often wrong and usually a distraction. Almost as bad was when he shoved his mouse aside to clear a view of what he was typing, only to have the cursor land on something else, amplifying whatever was in that box, whether he was interested or not. The pages were just messy with annoying ‘helpful’ distractions.

Food & Growth Dream

It began with drinking a cup of coffee. I was at a place which I knew was my home but it wasn’t a RL home. I seemed about forty years old so younger than RL but otherwise the same. Drinking the coffee, I walked along the living room’s length toward the kitchen. A hallway which led to the bedrooms and bathrooms broke off to right. The floor was carpeted with a light China blue plush carpet. I was wearing shoes and I noticed all this because my head was almost brushing the ceiling. That amused me as I’m only 5’8″.

My wife comes out of the bedroom hallways and we chat. I then go back across the living room and back. This time, my ceiling is rubbing against the ceiling enough that I’m bending my head to avoid it. I point this out to her, laughing that either I’m growing or the ceiling is being lowered. She checks it out and agrees, I seem to be taller. I muse that it must be a practical joke; how can I be getting taller? Someone — one of my nieces, nephews, or cousins — must have inserted lifts into my shoes without me noticing. But then, going to set the coffee table down, I found that I’m even taller. They can’t be putting lifts in my shoes because I’m wearing them. I must be growing. How was that possible?

The dream scene changes. I’m having dinner with former co-workers from various employers. These are all RL folk that I’ve not seen in decades. Men and women are segregated. That puzzles me and I ask why but nobody gives me a reasonable answer. Most commonly heard is, ‘because they made the food’. I’m basically sitting alone at the end of a table, with others to the right. Food is being served. I’m making fun of some of the food because it seems unusual and I’m annoyed that we’re being served like the wives are our servants, but it’s tasty food and I’m eating it, and enjoying myself.

Friends call me over to another side. I respond, heading over there. One of the wives wants me to try this special dish which she made. Her husband sets a plate in front of me. It looks like a flat hotdog bun with a hotdog splayed open lengthwise, covered by what looks like dark green ice and a thin piece of steak. I want explanations for what I’m facing. For one thing, I don’t eat hotdogs. She tells me it’s not a regular hotdog, that she actually made it herself, and that it’s very healthy. Okay, I trust her about that, but what about the green ice? I’m not given an answer.

The thing is hard to keep together, but I do so that I can try it. I’m stunned by the flavor, especially the green ice. It’s an exhilarating, cleansing flavor unlike anything I’ve ever had and not anything like I expected. For starters, it’s not cold.

I exclaim appreciation for it, which delights her. She tells me that she knew I would appreciate it. She won’t tell me anything about what it is, but I don’t mind. We joke about it could and I thank her.

Her husband calls me in to join him and other men and women in another room. It’s like a round table setting. They’re having a conversation and he wants to know, what was I good at when I was younger, and gives some background to what he means. I tell him without hesitation, “Music, computers, and art,” then I shrug. They were always effortless to me although I never pursued any of them and regret that.

Dream end.

Thursday’s Theme Music

Hello to my fellow air-breathers of Earth, which could be an interesting band title. But then again, I thought last night that “Friends of a Different Life” would be an interesting novel title.

It’s December’s final Thursday, which bestows the day with the honor of being the year’s final day. Our day has polarized feelings about its position. Eastern and southern window views are lavish with sunshine. The other two directions find white bottomed sky embracing the houses and playing hide and seek with trees. It’s 41 F, a hospitable winter temperature, with aspirations of duplicating the feat of the last several days and seeing 51 F. I’ll take it. Wish it would snow on the mountains. Guess I need to do another snow dance. The last one might’ve backfired. I’m not saying that my last snow dance is responsible for the bomb cyclone which dumped massive snow and iced up much of northern and eastern North America, but coincidental timing is suspect.

This friendly sunshine began its visit at 7:39 today. 4:47 PM will see the sunshine’s tour end. It is December 29, 2022.

Today’s themey music was prompted by The Neurons and the cats. Felines were trying to herd me. On my side, I was playing the classic floof game, “What do you want?” I kept asking, “What is it that you want? Are you hungry? Need food? Is your water okay? Do you want to go out? Is Lassie in a well?” The questions kept going and then I just urged them, “Come on, show me what you want. Show me the way.”

The Neurons said, “Oh, he wants some Frampton.” “Show Me the Way” from 1975 spun up in the morning mental music stream. As a treat, I found a recording of it on it on Midnight Special, a television show which used to showcase the hit pop and rock performers and their songs. Many friends of the era would ask if I’d seen X on Midnight Special last night. Current gen folks can’t understand the huge differences in our technology from now and then. The wasn’t as wide as me as the one between me as a child and my grandparents, but the scale of change and what can now be done got faster and faster, becoming a dizzying and impressive shift.

Sorry, somehow put on my old man pants. I was just pondering, what was it like in the late eighteen hundreds when they had to deal with the weather? Television, radio, and computers were all in the future. How much warning was given before something like a snowstorm struck? How was the word passed?

Think I need some java, and I’m not talking script. Stay positive and test negy. Here’s the throwback. Cheers

PS – Do you think Final Friday might be a good novel title. Has probably already been done, don’t you think?

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