+quot;The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific+quot; An electronically syndicated series tha

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---------------------------------------------- "The Adventures of Lone Wolf Scientific" ------------------------------------------ An electronically syndicated series that follows the exploits of two madcap pioneers of technology. Copyright 1991 Michy Peshota. May not be distributed without accompanying WELCOME.LWS and EPISOD.LWS files. ----------------------- EPISODE #8 ----------------------- The House Where Andrew.BAS Lived >>S-max discovers that the gentle programmer's abode is the perfect place to house his electric tuba, his 450-pound dot matrix printer, and his classic soldering iron collection-- as well as inhabit indefinitely.<< by Michy Peshota The home of a computer programmer is always a special place. It's where pure and perfect cerebral sensibility clash with a complete ineptitude with tangible things. In it you'll find no chinz-covered chairs or china dogs on the shelves. You'll see no neatly tied-back curtains or sculptured carpet. You're more apt to find a thousand dogeared sci-fi novels stacked neatly in a livingroom corner and the rooms bare except for that. The house where Andrew.BAS lived was no exception. It was a blasted wood A- frame as sorrowful as if it once housed Trophonius himself. As Andrew.BAS walked up the crumbling steps late that night with his officemate, the latter pointed questioningly to the two Greek letters that dangled from the rotting railing of the second-story porch. "It's a former college fraternity house," the programmer explained. "I rented it because I thought it might be fun to get a bunch of other programmers to move in. We could stay up late at night watching 'Star Trek' reruns, playing ping-pong, and watching each other's programs compile." The computer builder looked at him anxiously. "You haven't gotten any other programmers to move in yet, have you?" "Well, no." "That's a relief. I don't think I would survive very long in a household where the preferred form of entertainment is watching a program compiler throw up at every encounter with some brains-in-a-wristwatch programmer's spastic assault upon a logic gate." "You could play ping-pong." "No, I couldn't. Genius computer builders such as myself have very delicate constitutions. The massive amount of intellect rushing around in our forebrains at any given moment inhibits our hopping around with an imbecilic ball and paddle." He grunted. "We get naseous and tumble over." "It must be hard for you to find pleasure in life." "Oh, it is," he despaired. "You have no idea what it's like to have an I.Q. the size of a winning lotto number, while the rest of the human race is relegated to one so puny that the measure of it cubed wouldn't even equal the number of pennies required to ride a city bus." He grunted. "Sometimes, desperate for intelligent conversation, I find myself wandering the aisles of the local Radio Shack late at night, seizing the lapels of anyone headed to the checkout with a profusion of audio connectors." Andrew.BAS was glad that he had always obeyed instinct and avoided cheap electronics stores after dark. As he jiggled the key in the lock, the whole house quivered and the scarecrow propped in the front window dropped its weary head to its chest as if it were embarrassed to be there. The programmer kicked the door open, while his houseguest stood back and surveyed with approval the forest of TV antennas sprouting from the tattered roof. He then scurried to the back of the house to check out the power lines running to it. The programmer heard him shout from the backyard, "You have good electricity!" Inside the house, Andrew.BAS deadpanned, "That's a relief," and deposited his briefcase full of sci-fi novels on the floor. Once the blowzy computer builder reappeared, Andrew.BAS nodded toward the ten-gallon drum of liquid marshmallow and the green felt Robin Hood hat and tights that were lying in the middle of the livingroom floor. "The nearest I can figure, those--and the scarecrow in the window--are left over from a fraternity prank." S-max hurried over to the drum of marshmallow. He inspected it covetously. "If I were you, I'd take better care of something as valuable as this. You never know when it might come in handy." "You can have it if you want." "Can I?" "Why not? Take the hat and tights too." "Honestly?!" "I never want to see them again." S-max pulled a crooked screwdriver from his army jacket pocket and began prying the lid off the drum of marshmallow. "I can't tell you the number of times I've been in the midst of an all-night reverse-engineering spree and been in a panic for a little something sweet." He poked his screwdriver into the curdled goo inside the drum. He pulled it out and nodded with approval. "Something like this would have solved all my snacking problems." Other than the marshmallow and the Robin Hood accoutrements, the house was empty, and the computer builder made note of this as he made a hasty tour of its rooms. Returning to the livingroom, he gestured imperiously to its center. "<> is where my research and development couch will go," he said. Before his host could object, he gestured toward the kitchen and declared, "See that grubby spot now occupied unattractively by the sink, the stove, and the broken dishwasher? That's where my PDP-1 will go." He pointed in the opposite direction toward the bathroom. "My 450-pound dot matrix printer will fit nicely in the shower stall--which will be quite convenient since it tends to spew out motor oil whenever it prints anything but mathematical symbols." He flung his arm toward the empty dinette. "That's where my electric tuba will sit. My popcorn maker, though, will be housed in the spare bedroom with the flashing Budweiser sign--" "Flashing Budweiser sign?" Andrew.BAS interrupted. "Is that the same one from the rescue mission?" "Yes, it was given to me by Phil." "The miscreant in the next cot?" "That's right. It was a token of esteem which he presented to me after I introduced him to the magic of double-diffused silicon planar passivated transistor theory." "Oh?" "It completely changed his life. He stopped talking to the arts and crafts wagon and started addressing the electrical outlets as 'My Man Mr. D.D. Double Confused.'" The computer builder continued with his decorating plans, "And we'll run daisy-chained extension cords out the windows, into the garage, out back around the washpoles, and back in through the basement windows. According to my calculations, fifty or sixty should be enough to start with. I noticed that there was only one outlet in the basement, but that should be sufficient, at least for the time being, for my assortment of 14 DEC computers. We may eventually have to install a second outlet." He made a quick inspection of the livingroom's electrical outlets. "These aren't grounded," he said with a frown, then brightened, "but that hardly matters because I never ground any of the computers I build anyway." He shuffled out the front door to retrieve his bedding from his van. Andrew.BAS felt a growing doom as he realized that the bumptious S-max planned to stay longer than one evening. When he reappeared he was toting a worn, fringed blanket. It was dotted with spaceships. Tucked under his arm was a ragged corduroy couch pillow. Andrew.BAS took a corner of the blanket in his hands and marvelled, "This looks like you've had it since you were a kid." "I have," S-max said. He offered the couch pillow for inspection. "This was a love token given to me by a lady at the rescue mission." "Really?" "She was a bag-lady. She wore a different plastic bird pinned to her blouse everyday as a sign of her solidarity with the pigeons on the roof." "You certainly seem to have made a lot of friends at the rescue mission." "Yes, it was the first time in my life that I found others with whom it was easy to share my soul--except of course for the artificial intelligence lab at MIT, which was a great deal like the rescue mission, only twelve times over." "How so?" "The people there really did care whenever my mattress started on fire." He grunted nostalgically. Once S-max had decided where where all of his possessions were to be placed, he turned to this host. "Where are you going to live from now on?" "I'm staying in one of the bedrooms at the moment," Andrew.BAS replied glibly. "No, no, that won't do at all! I plan to use both bedrooms for my collection of classic soldering irons." "<> soldering irons?" "That's right. Some of them were manufactured as early as 1987." S-max pointed toward the kitchen in distress. "As you can see, not all of the soldering irons will fit on the kitchen table." He pointed to each of the room's windowsills in turn. "And there are too many to fit on the windowsills. And I can't put them on the bathroom counter because someone might mistake them for curling irons and gook them up with styling mousse--" "How many classic soldering irons do you have?" "Two-hundred-fifty-seven." "I see." "Only until I get the rest out of hock. Then they'll be 343." Andrew.BAS pondered diplomatically. "Maybe you could put them in the attic?" "NO!" came the howl of response. "YOU will go in the attic." "But I--" "Please, don't argue with me. I've had a hard enough day already. The thought of arguing with a mere brains-in- a-function-key programmer is as tiresome to me as the thought of staying up all night spooning all that marshmallow into single-serving-size portions." He unfolded his rocketship-flocked blanket in the middle of the livingroom floor defiantly. "As you'll discover, the idea of a low-life computer programmer such as yourself living on the same floor as the one I'm living on is as odious to me as the thought of someone who doesn't work with computers <> living in the same house. The very idea causes me to break out in hives and carbuncles from the top of my godlike head to the bottom of my hairy, but prehensile toes. Not to mention what it does to my teeth and gums. No, you're sleeping on the first floor won't do at all. I'll be a nervous wreck by the end of six months. You'll have to live in the attic from now on." "Six months?" Andrew.BAS gasped. Suffering the loud- mouthed electronics elitist for six hours was hard enough, but six months? He cringed. O, why had he offered him a place to sleep in the first place? He should have suspected this might happen. It was after midnight, though, and the meek programmer was too tired to argue. Reluctantly, he let his officemate have the first floor to himself, and headed up the attic stairs with his own blanket and clock radio. He vowed to kick out the Gasconian houseguest first thing in the morning. As the programmer drifted off to sleep, cramped in a corner of the attic on the floor, behind a computer box, he thought he heard S-max's anarchic van squeeling out of the driveway on rubbery wheels. But he put it out of his mind and fell asleep. A short while later he awoke to the squeel of the van pulling back into the driveway. This time it's distinguishing rattletybang was accompanied by a wood-on- concrete scraping. It almost sounded like a herd of broken furniture was being dragged along behind it. Was it? Andrew.BAS, tossing awake in the darkness, fretted, but before he could make sense of the scraping noise, he fell back asleep. He dreamed he was caged inside a supercomputer where, behind every logic gate, stood a bossy, chip puller- wielding giant with a big nose like S-max's and who spoke with an excessive amount of non sequiturs. He awoke with a start to hear what sounded like someone in large sneakers running through the overgrown weeds and grass in the background, winding electrical cords around trees and bushes. When Andrew.BAS's clock radio finally trilled a few hours later, he tiptoed down the stairs warily, terrified at the prospect of what mischief he might find waiting for him in the house below. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, he noted that the livingroom looked still. His guest was curled beneath his space-ship sprinkled blanket like innocence itself. Even his snoring sounded remarkably harmless. But what was he sleeping on? Andrew.BAS stepped closer to see. It was a long cushion. It's conspicuously kitschy brown plaid naugahyde could mean only one thing: it was a seat cushion ripped from a $4 billion Cray supercomputer! The programmer started. It was as though he had stumbled on a dead body. Where would S-max have gotten a billion-dollar supercomputer seat cushion? he wondered. And what did he do with the rest of the computer? Turning to the kitchen he spied at least part of the answer. In the spot once occupied by the sink, the stove, and the broken dishwasher, there now stood a battered PDP-1 computer. It winked at him with the kind of crazy, insouciant grin that only comes from a rusty machine that that has been refitted with $4 billion parts. But the fact that S-max may have sacked a Lambourghini to soup up his jalopy was the least of the programmer's concerns, for looking around, he saw that the rest of the house was so thick with transistor-encrusted, wire-wrapped contraptions that it would take nothing less than a six-month power outage to get the wire-fisted squatter to leave. Helpless, the apple-cheeked programmer sat down on a stack of sci-fi novels and sighed. >>>>In the next episode, "The Ghost of Alan Turing," monkish assembly language wizard Austin Jellowack is pestered by an unwelcome pal from a higher programming realm.<<<<


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