Sunday, August 4, 2013

Beneath The Surface

Beneath The Surface

(title by Dan)

My Son is visiting me from Southern California. And my knee is killing me. So my adventures are being limited to some intense episodic TV watching and a train trip into Portland.

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Episodic TV watching:

Never seen this show but Dan and I always watch some story-show (usually Anime or SCI-FI) when he comes to visit. This time we chose “Under the Dome”, mainly because the first 6 episodes are free for Amazon Prime type persons. Free, I tell you !!

I like the general premise of this story. It is sort of like Lost or Lord of the Flies or, Gilligan's Island. Take a bunch of people, put them into some stressful situation where they are separate from the rest of the world with little or no hope of rescue, and see what happens. Do you remember the episode where The Professor goes schizo kills the Howell's and makes Mary Anne and Ginger his sex slaves? Under the Dome is sort of like that.
This small town in some unspecified place (but has spanish moss and Oak Tree's that look suspiciously like Georgia, or perhaps South Carolina) is going about it's normal everyday business (eating, sleeping, gamboling, murder, making vast quantities of Meth) when an invisible, impenetrable dome suddenly seals off the town from the outside world. It just appears. Anything on the outside is cut off from anything on the inside. Anything on the boundary is cut in two. They have a pretty good effect where a cow is cut in two. Lengthwise. While standing up. But also roads and buildings. And anything that tries to cross the boundary, like speeding cars or airplanes, just crashes, like into a brick wall. Well, worse than a brick wall. A lead Wall. A iron Wall. A wall of invisible hard stuff.
Other facts about the barrier (which is what I would have called it).
  1. It appears to be perfectly spherical (one of the guys inside did Trig !!)
  2. You can touch it, but it might give you a static shock.
  3. Electric devices that get too close tend to explode.
  4. Light goes through it. (thus it's invisibility)
  5. Radio waves do NOT go through it
    1. (Wait, how can this be, both are Electromagnetic waves)
    2. (Oh, says my Son, Light is a much higher frequency. It must let high frequency EM through)
    3. (Oh, yeah, right. )
  6. It is semi-permeable to water. Perhaps to oxygen also?

So the people inside (perhaps a 10 mile diameter) dome are stuck there. For at least 2 seasons. My partner says she read the book, so don't ask her what happens.

The only way that people on the inside can communicate with people on the outside is to use a Microsoft Surface tablet computer. You use the hand painting app to write your question and then you hold it up against the dome and people on the other side can read it. Any other electronic device (like a pacemaker or flashlight or hearing aid) that comes near the dome BLOWS UP and kills the person that is wearing or holding the device. REALLY. Only the MS operating system with touch screen is advanced enough to withstand the presumably alien influences of THE DOME.

My son and I can not come up with any explanation as to why a Surface would react this way. We also notice that all of the people Inside of the dome only use MS smart phones. It is possible that the unlikely nature of having so many people in one small area using MS devices and operating systems actually caused the existence of the DOME. The DOME is literally a defense mechanism that the rest of the universe has created to protect itself from the insidious effects of this high concentration of Micro Soft handheld devices. This is by far the scariest thing that Stephen King has ever written.

To check our our theory, Dan and I (with throats burned dry and souls that cry) head into Portland on the Max to visit the brand new MicroSoft Store down by Patriots Square

Ever been on a trip into Portland? What a fun little town! Lots of great things to do on a weekend. Just don't head down there on a Sunday before 3:00 and expect to find any Italian or Indians restaurants open. I don't know what is up with that. Perhaps all of the Indians and Italians are at church. Or hungover from Saturday night. The French Bistro's are open. I assume the French can hold their liquor better.

When Daniel visited a couple of months ago, the Microsoft store was not yet open. But it was open today and was even having a special event!! They had Darington Nagbe of the Portland Timbers !!!
Darington Nagbe !! Can you imagine how excited Dan and I were !! Especially once we found out that the Portland Timbers is a Soccer Team !! And once we found out that Soccer is evidently some sort of sport played with a “round ball” in someplace called “The rest of the world”. Which is evidently outside of the dome, so.... whatever.

Anyway. We walk into the store and are promptly greeted by most of the very bored staff of the very upscale shop (My, it looks a lot like an Apple store...... only....... only...... well, sans customers. Perhaps it looks an Apple store during a Zombie Apocolypse). “Hi,” said the one of the lucky salesman. “What brings you into the Microsoft store”.
“Well,” I said “We just wanted to see what it was like to go into a MicroSoft store.”
The salesman gave me a very knowing look.
Then I picked up one of the laptops that was sitting there and promptly broke the key board right off of the damn thing, “Crap”, I said, “I broke the keyboard”. I think the salespeople had heard this joke before because their laughter was somewhat perfunctory.
“Why are you interested in the Surface” the salesperson asked.
“Why, because this is the only device that doesn't explode when you hold it up against the dome.” I said.
Now this they liked. They all got the reference and understood what we were getting at. I saw one of them take a memo (hey, was that an Iphone?). I bet I see this on The Colbert Report soon.
“Hey, what processor does this thing use?”
“This uses an A. R. M. processor. Pretty good for simple things”
“A. R. M.? You mean ARM? I have heard of them. I work for I. N. T. E. L.”
“oh, you know, if you hurry over there and get in line by that woman in the green shirt you can sign up to meet and perhaps play with Darington Nagbe.”
“The Darington Nagbe?”
“What line?”
“The line forming by the lady in the green shirt, every customer in the store is over there”
“I see one person next to a lady in a green shirt”.
“And I can play with The Darington Nagbe?”
“Well, you can sign up to be in the raffle for a chance to play with Darington Nagbe”
“A raffle against all of the other person in that line”
“What would we play? Please don't say Soccer. I already used my best Soccer jokes”
“What, No, Not Soccer. Some Kinects game. “
“Ah, Well. Normally I would love to, but that line looks too long and my Son and I are afraid that someone we know might see us.”
“Some one you know might see you? Here? No one ever comes in here. Oh come on. Let me give you a demo”
“Nope. Sorry. Say Hi to Darington Nagbe for us.”

And so we ended our visit.
Just so you know, they also have laptops and other more traditional tablets. Everything cost more than $350.
So $350 for the Surface RT. This is without the Keyboard.
Ipad II for $400. Ipad Mini for $325. and it DOESN'T HAVE WINDOWS !!
Just sayin. Skip the Latte's for a month and get the Ipad.

Since Dan and I (with throats burned dry) jumped on the max (we have all day tickets) and rode over to the Saturday Market (Also Open on Sundays March->December) to do a little shopping and walk around. Ever been to the Market? It is a pretty fun place to spend an afternoon. Lots of street food stalls, street performers, street people, and street walkers. Lots of booths for local artists, artisians, and stuff made in China. I wanted to get a new belt from my favorite belt seller (and get my previous belt resized due to my dramatic weight loss) and maybe look around for some Chritmas presents. Lots of hand made jewelry and fudge and bowls and vests. I like the vests. Must get one when it gets colder. Today it is much to hot to buy a vest. It is almost too hot to be walking around unless you are willing to go jump in the many artistic fountains (lots of kids already screaming and running through them, so no one will notice if you join them).

I have a very hard time not buying earrings whenever I go to the Market. Especially now that I have a friend who wears them. (need to find a macho one for my Brother for Christmas).
And the Body Art !!
Portland is a GREAT TOWN for body art. I like the fact that the young people with lots of tatoos will wear as little clothing as possible just so they can show off all of the ink they have. Pray for hot weather. Go Downtown. When google glass is ubiquitous there will be some interesting live broadcast crowed sourced tatoo performance pieces out there.
Back on the Max. Off to our favorite Coffee house Northwest Coffee, for a Cappuccino and Iced Mocha. Very nice. Hey, looks like a Portland Timbers game is starting up. A double header. I wonder if Darington knows he is missing a game?

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