austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Won't you tell me what to write

And then last night I was reading the New Scientist magazine which I bought to break a fifty, and the question addressed in ``The Last Word'' column (wherein someone submits a question, and others submit answers) was about the plausibility of Knight Rider. Somehow I feel like I'm not getting anywhere. The particular question was whether it was realistic for KITT to drive up into the Knight Industries truck and brake without crashing through the cabin. Several speculated that perhaps it could work if you were good enough at downshifting and didn't mind risking blowing out the transmissions. Another pointed out that the stunt people for The Italian Job actually did more or less that stunt, and they survived with only one driver having to be cut free from the wreckage. I love consensus opinions.

I needed to fax something to the United States today, so went to the photocopier room and learned there's no fax machine there. I went to the main office to ask, and a secretary said I could come in. I waited for her to buzz me in, since there's magnetic locks on the office, and she told me my staff card let me in. Well, I always got buzzed in before. She photocopied the form I had to fax, and put the photocopy in the fax machine. She then asked me to read out the number I was calling, and she repeated the number and had me verify the number before sending the fax. After it was done she showed me the ``OK'' status report and let me keep the copy. I also had to log it, with the note it was a personal fax, which is about ten times more paperwork than I did for everything in my old department. That's life in a big department.

Since I was in the office I lingered over the notepads; I can always use another since they vaporize in my office. The secretary saw and asked if I wanted them. And as long as I did, did I also want any pens? If they had these nice gelatin pens I did, but she looked through the closet and they didn't. She offered some pretty good ballpoint pens, though, in black, and red, and blue, before she ran out of colors. Then she asked if I wanted a pencil, too, and gave me a plastic clickable pencil before I could answer. My relentless talking about myself here obscures the issue, but I'm painfully shy, and that much attention all at once is hard to take. I thanked her many times over and fled, and got back to my office just happy to be alive.

Trivia: A mistake by 1760s North Carolinian surveyor James Cook -- he attributed it to the ``rains, the hot weather, and the insects'' -- moved North Carolina's border eleven miles south of the 35th parallel, and took 660 square miles from South Carolina for North. Source: Measuring America, Andro Linklater.

Currently Reading: War for the Union, 1861-1862: The Improvised War, Allan Nevins.


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