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So, I was in the hospital recently, and it was the surgery that I had been waiting for now for nearly a year and a half. It was the one that more or less put me back to “normal,” for as much as that may mean, although there is no normal really for me.

The surgery itself went fine for the most part, but the day afterwards in recovery, I was trying to pull myself up in bed, and I dislocated my shoulder. It was the third time I had done that, and a shoulder dislocation is one of those things that gets easier to do once it’s happened. So, I was in a restraint for a couple weeks for that, and didn’t really have much of a way to type easily, or do a whole lot of other things either.

Changing the default path in Wine (Linux)

Just in case anyone else has tried searching Google for how to change the default path in Wine like I was, and finding nothing useful, here’s how. It’s actually just like changing it in Windows.

First, open up the Wine registry with regedit:


wine regedit


Then open up HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/System/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/Environment, and in there you will find the PATH variable that can be changed.

The technology spirits hate me tonight

I think another SSD died on me again tonight. And then my job's Citrix server seems to be out of commission. And when I called into their help desk, I realized that I had left my cordless phones off their hooks, and so their batteries were almost dead (I get poor reception here on my cell). And I think both Twitter and Facebook were down for a bit since I tried to post something earlier about all of this, but neither were responding.

Lost at Sea

I try to wave her down, but she floats by--she doesn’t even see me. I’m too far away. Another boat that’s ignored me.

I’ve been floating out here for days...months...years. I was on a boat at one time. I knew where I was going, but then I fell off. We were out in the middle of the ocean--no where close to shore, and I’ve not seen it since.

I feel the little fishes nip at my feet. It’s strangely comforting. They remind me I’m not actually alone out here, but their company feels empty. They have no insight as to where I should go, nor would I expect that of them. They are just fish after all.

I’ve encountered sharks and other dangerous sea creatures, but I’ve learnt to ward them off--except for the jellyfish. I never see them coming, but I’ve seemingly built a tolerance for their toxin, though, that might not necessarily be a good thing.

I lay back and just float there. I can hear the water lapping at my ears. I stare at the Milky Way stretching across the sky, and I think, “At least I’m not lost up there. I’d never be rescued.” And then I wonder, perhaps, actually, I am, and I just don’t realize it.

Surgery has been postponed for a few weeks

So this visit that I just had to the Mayo clinic went really well--too well in some respects.

The endoscopic procedures they performed found a lot more stuff that had to be removed than was expected. It was kind of like planning for a party, and expecting only a few people on your invitation list to show up, but then everyone showed up. That’s a shitty analogy, but it was the best one I could muster right now.

Weirdest dream ever

I just had the strangest dream ever. I was trying to search for something on the Internet, and it wasn’t working. Every time I tried to search for it, something happened. At first it was my computer freezing up until I killed the browser window, and so I had to start all over trying to search again, but then I was getting all these really strange errors from the search engine I was using. And then my computer decided to just reboot on its own without any warning or error message. It was like something was preventing me from finding what I wanted here.

I was getting really, really frustrated when I suddenly woke up staring at my computer, and realized I I hadn’t actually done anything, and nothing happened on my computer. Nothing whatsoever changed at all on my computer. I went on to search for what I wanted, and it worked without any problems.

A Memory of Humanity -- preview 3

Preview 1
Preview 2

It’s been a few days now, and she has simply been trying to live day by day. The robots would bring her food whenever she felt hungry, even though she would not say anything about it. Their timing was uncanny, and unnerving for her, but the food was delicious, and hunger tends to take precedence over any bewilderment. Besides, it seemed she had little choice in the matter--she could not even begin to fathom to where to begin foraging for food in this “city.” She questioned the idea that this place was even a city since she considered a city to be filled with people, and so without people, could she really consider it a city?

She could take all day pondering the question--for what else was there to do?

--

She had been wandering night after night trying to find newer and better shelters, but it was becoming tiresome, and none were adequate as a permanent shelter. Communication with her little robotic companion--which she had named Heron--was slowly improving, but she was still unable to get across to it all her needs and desires, and it was proving to be a frustrating ordeal for her. It was bad enough to not have seen another person since she had awoken, but it has been just as frustrating--if not more so--to only be able to talk to this robot that has difficulty understanding her.

Tonight seemed a little different, though. Heron was seemingly resolute in leading her somewhere. Whenever she tried to go in a different direction than the one being set forth by Heron, it would quickly return to her side, and circle her, and then move in the direction it was moving before. She had different plans for today. She was determined to find a more permanent shelter, and to do that, she had to explore the city, but Heron was being a persistent annoyance. She would follow Heron for a bit until something caught her eye, and began moving towards it. Sometimes she persisted towards the object of her interest with Heron darting back and forth and around her. She made a mental note of a few places that seemed would have made a good permanent shelter, and then continue following Heron. After a while, she grew tired of Heron’s persistent annoyance, and relented to follow Heron wherever it insisted on her to go. It led her into a narrow alleyway with what appeared to be enormous pipes snaking every which way on the two structures lining each side of the alleyway. Off into the distance, she could see a blinking red light. It seemed to beckon to her, and Heron seemed to be leading her towards it. In but a short time from when she had seen it, they arrived at the beckoning light. She reached out and touched it. As soon as she had, an outline of what seemed to be a door appeared, and opened inward.

A Memory of Humanity -- preview 2

Preview 1

“I don’t know what’s going on here, except that I’ve been asleep for a very long time, and I don’t remember why. I remember who I was. I was a scientist at the re-opened and re-purposed Fermilab. I had a life, I think, but I imagine all that is gone. I do seem to recall--vaguely--that my memory would be affected by this.” She realized that it was likely no one heard that, but it felt good to say it out loud. The little ball of light was still hovering around her, seemingly examining every slight movement.

She decided to sit down on the ledge looking out over this strange looking city. The ball of light began making clicking noises, which slowly began to increase in frequency. She just looked at it inquistively, and said, “What? Why are you doing that?” She looked over the ledge towards the bottom a few hundred meters away. She got back up, and walked away from the ledge, and the clicking stopped. “I won’t fall. I promise, but if it will make you feel better, I will stay away from the ledge.” The beeping subsided as she backed away from the ledge.

As she moved away from the ledge, a strange machine flew into the room with what looked like a cockpit with no controls. The glass, domed door split open, and there before her awaited a seat. She looked at it skeptically, and then back at the floating ball of light, and asked, “You want me to sit in there?” Seeing no other option, she took her seat. The doors before her closed shut, and she felt the machine begin to lift off the ground, and soon the machine was flying off into the city, but she found that she would not be landing in the city, but rather just outside the city, whereupon she found a pile of what appeared to be an assortment of fruit. The doors of the machine opened before her, and she strode out to take a closer look at the pile of fruit. She looked around, but could not see the ball of light that had accompanied her thus far, which she found discomfiting. She was beginning to become attached to the little machine. She looked at the fruit, and then back at the flying machine that brought her. She was extremely hungry, and so just let out a weak, “Thank you.”

--

It has been a few days, and she has yet to see another person. On top of that, Kira has not had a good night’s sleep. She has not been given a bed, or a room really, and there seems to be no intention of providing her such comforts. She is beginning to wonder if there are any other humans in this city, or if it is just the machines she sees around her. To say that she is a little perturbed would perhaps be an understatement. Her screams, and pleas for someone, something, anything, anyone to just say something--to talk to her--would go unanswered. Sometimes the machines would momentarily react to her outbursts, but then go on about their business. She attempted to physically restrain a few, but they were far stronger than her. Stranger still, there was always food presented to her whenever she was hungry, and she could not explain the reasoning behind this when it was clear that nothing she said was understood.

She found herself walking down a street--or at the least what she assumed was a street, but seemed far too narrow, and she never saw a vehicle of any kind traveling upon it--when she heard what almost sounded like a voice behind her, but quite monotonous like that of a computer.

“Speech...difficult.” She turned around, and found something familiar, that little ball of light she had encountered a few days ago. “Still...learning. Watching you, and...”

It stopped speaking, a small opening appeared on the underside from which a tiny robotic arm maneuvered outward while holding at its end a tattered book. She took it from the arm, and, while paging through it, realized that it was the tattered remains of a dictionary. She surmised that the robot before her had studied what little there was, and so she began to ask questions. “Where am I?”

The robot gave no reaction to her query. Perhaps, she thought, her question could not be understood verbally, so she found a stone near by, knelt down, began to draw into the concrete her question.

The robot began to vocalize again in the same monotonous tone as before. “City...”

It did not expound upon this statement. She figured it perhaps did not know how, but she nonetheless asked, “What city? Does it have a name? Where exactly am I? I just want to know where I am. Am I even on the planet Earth?” she said exasperatingly. She glared at the little floating robot with a tinge of despair--realizing that her words may not be getting through. She then knelt onto the ground still clutching still clutching the stone she found from before, and began drawing a circle. “This. Earth.” She attempted to draw some continents like North and South America, but she was never an artist. When she finished, she stood up and pointed down at it, and then motioned in a circular manner with her hands horizontally, and vertically, but it seemed to be to no avail. The robot made no indication that it understood what she was trying to say. Realizing the futility (and that her drawings of the Earth were unintelligible to even her), she crawled off to the side of one of the buildings there, and cried. The realization that she may be alone with no one that could understand her became overwhelming.

The robot floated over by her almost seeming to indicate that it understood she was in distress, but it did not know how to help her.

A Memory of Humanity -- preview

None of it and yet all of it made sense. It has been this way for a long time, and she could barely remember much before that. So many times has she tried to make sense of it all, but she always gets lost in the mazes that seem to be little more than memories. Everyone around are little more than anonymous figures with whom she never finds a chance to converse, unless they are friends or family, and the conversations are becoming all too familiar.

As before, she found herself running--running from someone through the thick woods. She did not feel threatened, but she felt she had to get away.

“Kira, wait!” said a voice that seemed all too familiar.

She kept running until she came upon a door standing there in the middle of the forest. She already knew what was on the other side. She opened the door and found herself within a brightly lit atrium of the building in which she formerly worked. She found herself within a flood of people going to and from different places, but it was night time now--everyone has left--and she has to get to bed.

She did not need to go far since she was already in her bedroom, and her bed was right in front of her. The lamp beside her bed seemed to be particularly bright, but she paid no heed to this peculiarity, and crawled into bed. Once she was in bed, she realized she dropped something onto the bed--something important. She began to search around in bed looking for it--a coin perhaps? She was not certain, but it was imperative that she find it. The light from the lamp began to follow her movements, which she found odd, but she was not the type of person to turn down something useful.

She kept on searching until the bed began to feel cold, and metallic, and her head seemed to be resting on something hard. The light of the lamp was still there, but now it was shining in her face. There was a problem. The light was not coming from a lamp, and she realized she was waking up.

“What...? Where...am I?” She put her hand before her face to shield them from the bright light. Everything was hazy--her eyesight, thoughts, muscles--all of it. She was getting no response to her questions, and as her senses began to clear up, she could see that there was no one else in the room with her. There was little more than the gown covering her body that she remembered she had on before she fell asleep. The light continued to move about her. She sat upright with great difficulty and pain, and perhaps out of frustration, curiosity, or both, she reached out to the light, and took a hold of it. She immediately realized that it was just a floating ball emitting light from one side. Almost immediately after she grabbed it, it began to seemingly struggle within her hand to break free. She grasped it with both hands so she could examine it more carefully, but to no avail as the ball of light broke free of her grip, and flew high above outside her reach.

“Please, just tell me where I am. I know you can hear me,” she aid with some despondency in her voice as she stared at this floating ball of light that seemed to stare back at her. “Someone must be watching me, right?” she continued with more despair in her voice. She began to look around the room for a camera, but could find none, except perhaps the floating ball of light above her, and even with that, she held some uncertainty as to its purpose.

“Why can’t you answer me? Do you not understand?” Tears began to fill her eyes. “Just say something! Please!” she cried, and again got no response.

She resigned herself to the silence of the room with little more than a silent floating ball of light, and her own thoughts. Unfortunately, her thoughts were of no great companionship. She was trying to remember what she was doing before she was asleep, but could not, and that disturbed her. She also realized she had been asleep for a very long time, but again she could not discern the reason for her lengthy sleep, or for how long. Many of her memories from before she was asleep were little more than a haze, and this proved to be far more distressing to her than anything else.

She hopped off the metallic bed on which she rested, and walked toward the wall before her. It felt good to get her legs moving. As soon as she took a few steps forward, she heard a low mechanical grumbling sound to her right. It was a door, and she could see sunlight peeking out from the bottom as it opened outwards. As it opened, she began to walk towards it. As she approached the opening, she stopped a step before its edge. She was not on the ground floor, but rather a few hundred meters from the ground.

Once the door had fully opened, she looked around outside, and could recognize none of the structures before her. She saw strange mechanical objects flying about--one of the largest of which resembled a nautilus. It flew about slowly, and it seemed there were a number of what she presumed were robots were flying in and out of the flying nautilus. On the ground, there appeared to be what looked like a city, but unlike any city she had seen. The buildings and structures were unlike anything she could even imagine, and there were no streets or cars anywhere. In the middle, she could see what looked like large pipes with smaller pipes branching off them to different parts of the city. They almost resembled a circulatory system.

Preview 2

PASWYW #4 - Read this in the dark

I could hear someone talking about all the time I could save with his new contraption. I must have fallen asleep. I groggily opened my eyes, and I could see the faint multicolored glow outlining everything in the living room, and directly in front of me I saw the clumsiest person trying to cut a tomato, but crushing it instead, and a red “X” overlaying the scene. To the right of that scene, I could see out the windows of my sliding glass patio doors, and the faint outline of the tree in my backyard. That’s when I heard what sounded like the knocking of wood. The rest of the house was completely silent, and I could not imagine who would be up at this hour besides myself. It seemed like it came from the front door. Perhaps it was an emergency.

I wearily pulled myself up from the chair I was in, and dragged my feet one in front of the other, and over again. I walked towards my right past the patio doors, and the vacant table in my dining room, and towards the foyer with the front door.

One thing I should note about this house is that I got it for dirt cheap. The real estate agent said that she too was baffled why should could not sell it for a higher price, except for the fact that it was on the market for over two years, but she also said that she tended to forget about it. For as beautiful as it was, for some reason it seemed to be forgettable, or rather that it wanted to be forgotten. I had nearly missed the “For sale” sign myself if it had not been for the small accident I had out in front. Some kid rode out into the road from a driveway while I was driving along the street in front, and I was forced to swerve out to avoid hitting him, and instead, I hit the “For sale” sign. In a way, I am grateful towards that kid for I would have never bothered otherwise.

To be honest, it is better than even my dream house. It has faux stone panels all around with an enormous glass window in the front leading into the secondary living room adjacent to the foyer. The panes on the window were of such a strange design. They were arranged in such a manner that it looked like a person with long tentacle like limbs. It was the only flaw I found in the house, and I had already planned on replacing them. There were three bedrooms in this house--two upstairs, and the one I use downstairs. Nearly all the walls and the ceilings in the house were painted an off-white, except for the wall around the large circular window in the secondary living room which was painted pitch black. An unusual design decision, but it actually looked pretty for some reason, so I decided to leave it. I might look into repainting some of the bedrooms, though.

The front door was a little unusual as well. It was white--not an off white like the walls--just white, and when looking at it very carefully, the word “SILENCE” could be made out on both sides of the door in just a slight shade of gray. At the least, I am pretty certain it is there. No one else has seen it, but then again, I have not had many people over.

The house has a strange history to it--at least so far as the real estate agent told me. It was built in 1958 by one Samuel L. Enderman. Apparently, the construction company that built it only existed for six months--just enough time to build the house--and it was the only building it built. When the mortgage had finally been fully paid off, payments for property taxes soon stopped after that, and so the city seized it. They tried to track down Mr. Enderman, but could not find any evidence that he ever existed except for the payments that were made which came from an account that had also ceased soon after the mortgage was paid off. When assessors came in to assess the place, they could find no evidence that anyone ever lived here. In fact, when they spoke to the utility companies, no one apparently had ever turned on the electricity or the water. There was no furniture or anything in the place. Oddly enough, the lawn was maintained throughout all these years.

I have not met any of my neighbors yet since I had only just moved in, but I noticed that whenever they are going past it from the road or the sidewalk, they seemed to take extra effort to avert their eyes. It made me wonder if perhaps I just have bad taste in houses, but then again, the real estate agent said she quite liked the house too, but maybe she has bad taste too. On the other hand, she has the reputation for being one of the best real estate agents in the city.

Through my blurred vision and half-awake state, I could see the solid white door as I entered the foyer. I clumsily put my left hand onto the wall below the staircase to the second floor to steady myself as I walked towards the door. As I passed the staircase, I reached out to the door handle, and felt the cold metal on my hands, and a chill ran down my spine. There was something that did not seem right about all of this suddenly, but I turned the handle, and pulled the door open. I could not see anyone outside--perhaps it must have been kids playing a prank, or maybe it was just my imagination that heard the knock. I did, however, notice a strange looking tree in my neighbor’s lawn across the street. I could not recall seeing one in their yard, but perhaps I had just not been paying attention. Although it was dark outside, and the street lights did little to illuminate it, it looked like it had two main branches sticking out opposite of each other.

I decided it was just a prank by some neighborhood kids, so I shut the door, and began to head back. It was late, and I was tired, so I decided that now is a good time to head to bed. As I was half-way through the main living room, I noticed the television was off. I did not think that I had turned it off, but I guess I did, which was fine by me as I just wanted to head to bed. I heard it again though, the knocking. It seemed louder this time. If it is kids playing a prank, I decided I would give them a piece of my mind this time. I headed back to the front door.

I was a little more awake this time so I reached the door a bit quicker, and I hoped I could catch the brats before they ran off. I grabbed the door handle again, and I got that same chill down my spine, and that feeling that I should not open the door. I hesitated for a moment, but proceeded to open the door nonetheless. Again, I saw no one outside. I was about to open the screen door to yell at the brats that I was certain were hiding in in some bushes somewhere when I noticed the tree from my neighbor’s yard seemed to be closer to the road this time, and now that I was a bit more awake, it looked less like a tree, and more like a very tall man with long spindly limbs with his arms reaching out into the darkness. I got the creeps, and decided the kids were not worth it.

I closed the door and began to head back. As I entered the main living room again, I noticed the television was on. I could swear it was off the last time I was in there. That same infomercial was still on, but I noticed it was muted. I sighed, and figured I was more tired than I thought. Perhaps I did not actually turn it off before, but just simply muted it. I reached into the chair to grab the remote, but then I noticed it. My neighbor’s tree was in my backyard. No, that could not be it. It is just my tree and I am imagining things. I grab the remote, turn off the television, and drop it back into the seat. I turned back towards the hallway leading to my bedroom when I heard scratching on the patio door window. I looked towards the door, and in the faint moon light, it looked like one of the branches was leaning on the window, but that could not been since the tree was too small and too far away for that, and besides, there was no wind outside, right? It must be my tired mind playing tricks on me.

I shrug it off, and continue on towards my bedroom. As I enter my bedroom, that feeling of discomfort continues to linger, and as I lie down, I find it difficult to sleep. I kept wondering about that tree...that man outside. In my head, I could see him walking towards the house...slowly with each step so carefully taken as his long spindly legs plodded forward. I imagined him walking around the house to the back, and reaching the patio door. He reached out with one of his hands, and grabbed the handle, and I could hear him open it with my mind’s ear--at least so I thought, but I realized that was not in my head.

I was going to get up to investigate, but then I heard it--the steps, slow and plodding like I imagine, and loud. I could feel the vibrations go through my body. I heard the door knob to my room being turned, and that feeling I have been having kept getting stronger, and so I curled inside my blanket closing my eyes as tight as I could like a child. I could hear the slow creak of the hinges on the door, and then a loud step into my room, and then another--closer. I then felt something touching me through my covers like tentacles slithering all over my body. A voice, unlike any I heard before, rang out like the growl of distant thunder saying, “You will become one of us.”

I had to confront this what ever it was, and I had to do it now. I threw my covers off and bolted upright in my bed screaming, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!!” I found myself surrounded by daylight intruding from the windows of my room, and a loud blaring alarm clock. I could hear voices outside my room. I turned off my alarm clock, and walked out. I did not seen anyone immediately, and as I walked into my living room, I saw that the television was on again.

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