Flash Fiction #201

Alien Takeover

PHOTO PROMPT © Penny Gadd

ALIEN TAKEOVER

Apteryx reporting. I have managed to infiltrate the Humans, the ones who believe that they are the greatest species on this planet.

I have disguised myself as a ‘houseplant’ and am hiding in plain view. I plan to remain here for several time periods while I absorb all information about them from things they call books.

I have learned about ‘coding’, how they control their computers. I have begun to understand their social structure by scanning the writings of one of their respected philosophers, a being named Doctor Seuss. They communicate in short, simple groups of words.  Hop on Pop.  😆

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

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Hours And Hours

 

clock

Some Japanese office workers literally work themselves to death, putting in huge numbers of hours. Others commit suicide if they feel that they have somehow failed – their employer, their family, or themselves.

North Americans may be losing ground to devoted Asians, even though they try to work smarter, not longer. Unlike my Cypriot Turkey auto-parts co-worker, I have never felt the need, or the ability, to put in consistent 80/90 hour work weeks.

The first full job I obtained in this town, 50 years ago, was a position as an Inventory clerk at a steel warehouse/fabricating plant. I was classed as an office worker, but was paid an hourly wage, rather than a weekly salary.

The rest of the office worked from 8:30 to 5:00 PM, with an hour for lunch. I was told that there was a lot to do in Inventory, and told to start at 7:00 AM. I quickly found that I accomplished more in that first hour and a half, than I did the rest of the day.

Long before computers, the department ran on paper. And we had piles and piles, and PILES of paper. Large cards in a bin for new material received, and then sold or applied to a job. Four drawers of rolodex-sized cards for material used in fabricating. If a 37 foot part-beam had another 19 feet cut off it, the 37’ card had to be removed, and a 18’ card inserted. We kept two women busy at an IBM punch-card machine. A worksheet for every job had to have weight calculated, material prices applied, and costed, so that Billing/Accounting could determine profit (or loss).

As company sales increased, so did the piles of paper. I took to coming back one evening a week, usually Wednesday, and working from 7 till 10. My 45 hour week became 48, and still the paper piles mounted. Billings (and company income) were delayed.

My manager asked me if I could work Saturday mornings to clear the backlog, so I came in from 7 till noon. The Provincial work standard insisted that any time above 48 hours had to be paid at time-and-a-half. Now I was regularly working 53 hours/week, and being paid the equivalent of 55-1/2.

No matter how careful we were with the paper, often the card amounts didn’t match the physical count. Once a year we did a physical inventory. The plant was divided into 4 categories, plate, sheet, bar and beam. Four counts were done on four successive weekends.

The workers from each division only had to work their one weekend. We lucky Inventory clerks had to work from 7 to 5, Saturday and Sunday, all four weeks – actually working 5 weeks without a day off. And since the Saturday time was spent correcting the inventory, an extra evening was often necessary to keep up with Billing.

It’s a good thing that I was young and stupid strong. I started with the company just before their yearly material count (lucky me), so I endured five of these 5-week, 7 days/70+ hours/week sprints, before I was promoted to the 37-1/2 hour position of Purchasing Agent, and got to know my kids.

Part of the reason for my lack of success, is my lack of stamina and dedication to both my career and my employers. How about you faithful readers?? Did you ever work somewhere where you had to put in long hours?? Or were you able to ‘git-er-done’ in a 40-hour (or less) work week? 😯

Awed…. Odd Thoughts

Confused Emoji

I became a professional fisherman, but discovered I couldn’t live on my net income. I went to work in a meat processing factory, but I couldn’t cut it. So then I got a job at a gym…but they said I wasn’t working out!

***

If it’s any good….they’ll stop making it.

Talk is cheap….until you hire a lawyer

***

How many optimists does it take to screw in a
light bulb?

None, they’re convinced that the power will
come back on soon.

***

How many Jehovah’s Witnesses does it take to change a light bulb?
Three! One screws it in, and the other two knock on your door to ask you if you’ve seen the light.

A Jehovah’s Witness came to my door the other day and said, “Can I ask you about God?”
I said, “Sure, what do you want to know?”

***

In what year did Christmas and New Year’s fall
in the same year?

They fall in the same year every year, New
Year’s Day just arrives very early in the year
and Christmas arrives very late in the same year.

***

Murphy’s First Law of Computing

Whatever happens, behave as though you meant it
to happen.

Murphy’s Second Law of Computing:

When you get to the point where you really
understand your software, it’s probably obsolete.

***

Music was much better when ugly people were allowed to make it.

***

A weasel walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Wow! I’ve never served a weasel before. What will you have?”

“Pop” goes the weasel.

***

I picked up a hitch-hiker recently. He said, “Thanks, but how do you know I’m not a serial killer though?”
I replied, “The chances of two serial killers being in the same car at the same time are astronomical.”

***

These days your memory might be better if you use marijuana, but don’t play football.

***

I saw a bumper sticker today. It said, “If you can read this, I’ll slam on my brakes and sue you.”

***

 

How Not To Solve A Problem

Colt 1911

Yet another example of how legal Canadian gun owners – and not the criminals – face all the hassles

If you’re a legal gun owner in Canada, you’ve probably heard the buzz about how the Liberal government would like to ban all handguns. Maybe you’ve even begun to wonder why it is that every time there is a high profile shooting, “progressive” politicians come after you, rather than targeting criminals with illegal guns.

After all, over the last 25 years you’ve enrolled in (and passed) the government’s lengthy courses on the safe handling of firearms. You’ve applied for, and been granted a licence to possess firearms, and to buy ammunition.

For a time, when it was required, you registered every old gun you had, and every new gun you bought. You acquired (at significant expense) all the trigger locks and gun safes needed to comply with safe storage rules. You informed the government of your new address every time you moved. And when you went to renew your firearms licence, you dutifully informed the government of any changes in your marital or employment status.

You even went to the trouble of acquiring a transport permit to carry a gun from your home to an approved shooting range, locked in a case, locked in your trunk. And rather than stopping for a pee at a gas station, you held it on the way home because, technically, that’s what Canadian law requires.

If you are an official gun collector, you’ve even agreed to let police search your home randomly, without notice, once or twice a year. In other words, you’ve jumped through every new hoop that Ottawa could think up to burden law-abiding gun owners, in the name of solving gun crime.

Now you learn that’s still not enough. If they can figure out a way to do it, the Liberals want to take away any handgun that you own altogether. All of that is frustrating enough, but there’s something that you didn’t know, that will blow your lid: No-one who has ever been banned by the courts from owning firearms is subject to the same scrutiny.

Neither Canada’s criminal justice system, nor its police information computers, keeps track of the whereabouts of people subject to weapons prohibition orders. The federal firearms center reports that there are nearly 450,000 convicted criminals prohibited from owning firearms, including thousands who should be “monitored closely because of their high risk to acquire firearms illegally and use firearms in the commission of a subsequent offence.”

The Federal Government doesn’t keep track of people who have been banned from owning guns, as closely as it keeps track of ordinary duck-hunters, and target shooters. Here’s the ultimate irony – or is that hypocrisy? We know that the banned 450,000 already have criminal records, and we also know that crime rates among law-abiding gun owners are lower than for the population as a whole.

Governments who want to ban, restrict, or register legal guns in the name of reducing crime, are truly going after the wrong people. Of course, to justify this unwarranted targeting of legitimate gun owners, governments and police services have recently begun spinning the tall tale that legal owners are the No. 1 source of guns used in crimes, either because they have carelessly stored them and the guns have been stolen, or because they have sold their legal guns on the black market.

This is utter bullshit! Little by little, over the past few months, Public Safety Canada, the Toronto Police Service, and others, have been forced to admit that they have no data to support their contention that most crime guns start out as legal guns in Canada.

This is just another way that legal gun owners in Canada are being blamed for a problem that they have not caused. If governments want to reduce gun crimes, they need to stop wasting so much effort on the good guys who own guns.

Silence Is Golden

monitor

The preceding period of peace and quiet has been brought to you by….  MY NEW COMPUTER!

No 100-word Flash Fiction, or even a WOW, this week.  They say that people begin to look like their pets.  Maybe, but my now-old computer was beginning to act far too much like me.  It was sated, stuffed, glutted, over-filled, crammed – over 900 blog-post files, and more pictures than an art gallery.

My poor, old H-P Compaq was almost 7 years old. I got it shortly after I began blogging, and even published a story about being without a computer for three days while it got trained.  Never terribly powerful to begin with, it has become subject to Moore’s Law, which says that power doubles every 2 years.

In dog– computer-years, it was…  let’s see.  Holy Crap, it’s pterodactyl-time.  The thing was older than me, practically prehistoric!  We considered adding more RAM and/or memory, but it would be like ‘souping up’ an old car.  We’d be putting soup in a sieve.  My new Acer has 10 times the process strength, and 2 terabytes of memory.

The old Compaq was like me after a big meal, just sitting there, mumbling to itself, and not really accomplishing anything.  I asked the son to have it do a complete security scan, when he arrived home in the morning.  We wouldn’t be getting out of bed for 2 or 3 hours.

On his computer, that would take an hour/hour-and-a-half.  Like a contented cow chewing its cud, it sat there, happily burbling away for over 9 ½ hours, stealing most of a day’s work time from me.  Finally – ‘Can I go to WordPress now?’  Moooo.

It’s been another 3 days without a computer, and I’m getting trained on lots of new (to me) computer tricks.  I know enough to be able to retrieve Word files, and publish them on my blogsite.  My new electronic best-friend is doing things much quicker.  Just don’t expect the quality of the posts to improve.  By Monday we’ll be back on schedule with the A To Z – Challenge post for the letter C.  I hope to C you there.  🙂

WOW #23

Dictionary

I have a

DILEMMA

The other day, I merely had a lemma. I’m pleased, because almost no-one else knows when they’ve got one.  A lemma is a spikelet of grass or other plant.

Linguaphiles speak of words which are positive, which have no negatives, or negative, but have no positives. Poor ‘dilemma’ is a bit of an orphan – one parent, and no-one knows what it is.

The phrase ‘caught in a cleft stick’ means that someone is jammed between two options, unable to make a choice for either one. The prefix ‘di’ also means two.  The word ‘dilemma’ is a situation where you are already impaled on two sharp, contradictory choices, and getting off is going to be intellectually or emotionally painful, and adopting and sticking yourself with either single option will hurt even more.  See lose/lose, or zero-sum-gain situation.

Reprogramming the Star Fleet computer so that you can win the Kobyashi Maru mission test is not a dilemma. If only we were able to reprogram more of life’s double-edged predicaments.  Things would go so much more smoothly.

Finding your way back here for more exciting, informative blog-posts should not be a dilemma.  If you haven’t already, lose your mind and just click on ‘Follow’ above, and leave some nice, but not pointed, comments.

2017 A To Z Challenge – I

Challenge2017

When I was young, I had all the patience in the world, because I had all the time in the world, to have patience. Drip – drip – drip – drip!  As I grow older, and have less time – and less time to waste – the countless idiot things that countless idiots do, has eroded away much of my goodwill and patience.  For the letter

Letter I

I’m going to put on my super-powered Iron Man Grumpy Old Dude suit, and tell you what blows the breeze up my kilt, and causes me

IMPATIENCE

Back in April, I was merrily gamboling and frolicking through the sunlit meadows of the Blogosphere. With carefree abandon, I gathered bright, pretty flowers and thought-provoking word-prompts for the A to Z Challenge.  While I was trying to do this, WordPress had a construction crew in, tearing down and rebuilding their site.

It was bad enough that my computer needed a good cleaning – both physically, and electronically. When I finally took it in, the techs knitted two kittens from all the hair and dust in the tower.  They flushed out cookies, and Trojans, and malware, and bots – and defragged the hard drive.  Works faster – Right??!

Everywhere except WordPress! There, it could take a minute – or two minutes – or three….once it took almost five minutes just to shift from one page to another.  All the while with that irritating little ‘wheel’ spinning uselessly in front of my nose, like a couple of my teenage girlfriends – promising something, but never delivering.

Eventually, I’d get impatient, and left-click, just to see if I could prod something into happening. WordPress is not responding because of a long-running script and a button that said, Click to stop script.  I only made that mistake once.  It stopped the script, all right….and the connection to WordPress – and my Word program – and my Internet Outlook browser – and my PC!  No ‘Blue Screen of Death,’ just a black screen of Duh -Where Did Everybody Go?

(Push the ‘On’ button. Your last session ended unexpectedly. No Shit! Did you wish to recover the session? The sooner, the gooder!)

So, I’d wait – and wait….and wait. Eventually, I’d get impatient, and left-click again.  This time the notice read WordPress is not responding. Click to recover page.  😯  Nice of you to warn me.  Looking over my shoulder, the Grim Reaper said, “I’d click that, if I were you.”  So, I’d wait – and wait….and wait.  Drip – drip – drip – drip.

Eventually, WordPress got the walls painted and the new drapes hung in the Stats page. Things run a bit quicker and smoother there, now.  I can reserve my impatience for the idiots on the roads, and in the supermarkets, and on-line.  (Not you lovely people though.  You have great intelligence and show exquisite taste.  You’re here, aren’t you?)  😎