[This is mostly true. Mostly.] The alarm clock went off as usual, and as usual, I rolled out of bed, crossed the gulf of the room where the clock was and slapped the snooze button, rolled back into bed. It's a ritual I've been doing for the past decade or so. I purposely put the clock out of arms reach from the bed in the hopes that the physical act of climbing out of bed would help wake me. It doesn't work; I can not only navigate the treacherous waters of the bedroom floor with my eyes closed, but with my mind closed as well. I've also learned to sleep through other noises that would wake most people, including the dead. Yet there is one sound that can penetrate the deep fog of sleep—that of an insect flying.
Odd how the sound of a leaf blower won't disturb me even if it's inside the same room, yet the soft buzzing of a mosquito drives me insane. Yet the buzzing I heard this morning after the first hitting of the snooze button didn't sound like a mosquito.
My initial thought was those XXXX kids, what are they up to now? but for some reason I rejected that answer. I then thought that perhaps this was some far off lawn mower or leaf blower but the pitch didn't seem quite right.
Nine minutes of pondering later, I do the roll-snooze-roll routine.
More buzzing. More pondering. Perhaps one of the neighborhood kids on one of those motorized scooters, I thought. Or if it is one of The Kids, they're going to get it! Yet more buzzing. It sounds too much like an insect thought. Like a bee or something. I could delude myself into thinking it was something else, but the buzzing …
Not even nine minutes have passed and I'm out of bed, turning off the alarm clock and slowly tracking the buzzing noise. Sounds like its coming from behind the blinds. Definitely coming from behind the blinds. Carefully I reach towards the chain to rotate the blinds and right there—
staring at me, my visage repeated thousands of times across the facets of its compound eyes as it cooly reguarded me staring at complete horror at this … this … invader of my sanctuary. It fluttered its wings, as if to confirm that yes, I am the one responsible for this buzzing sound, mind if I sting you to death now? I quickly closed the blinds and fled the room, screaming like a little girl.
Quick digression: I should mention that I do not know if I am allergic to bee stings or not—I've never been stung or bitten (except by the occasional mosquito) and at this late stage of the game, I'm not too keen about finding out the hard way. Okay, back to the story.
“Um … Spring,” I said.
“Yes?” said Spring.
“Could you do me a huge favor?”
“What is it?”
“There's this huge ever growing pulsating bee that rules from the center of the bedroom,” I said. “Could you take care of it?”
Spring gave me this rather odd look. “A huge ever growing … ?”
“That rules from the center of the bedroom,” I said.
“I see. And you want me to take care of this huge ever growing pulsating bee that rules from the center of the bedroom?”
“Please?” I said. Bambi eyes.
A giggle from Spring as she got up from the couch. “Yes, I can take care of it,” she said.
“You're not allergic, right?”
“To bees, no. Wasps, yes,” she said. We headed up the stairs. Spring carefully cracked the door to the bedroom open and slipped in. “Where did you last see it?”
“Behind the blinds.”
“You might want to close the door,” she said. “We don't want it to get loose in the house.”
“Good idea,” I said. I still don't fully understand how I ended up on the other side of the door, outside the bedroom. But the door was closed—the bedroom sealed off, along with Spring. Mano a aguijón. May the best combatant win. I stood there, just outside the door, anxiously awaiting; listening to the muffled sounds of the epic struggle filtered through the door, refusing to imagine what must be going on inside the bedroom.
Minutes pass. More muffled sounds of an epic struggle.
The door suddenly opens, Spring springs out, door shut. Took longer to read that than it took for the action to actually happen. Spring looks concerned. “There are now two huge ever growing pulsating bees that rule from the center of the bedroom,” she said. “And I don't think they're bees. I think they're—
It doesn't look good,” she said. I went to The Kids' bedroom and looked out. To my horror I saw a swarm of huge ever growing pulsating wasps engulfing the Facility in the Middle of Nowhere, blanketing the place; the din of buzzing rising in my ears as my mind tried to retreat into its Happy Place. “We're going to have to call The Office,” she said. “Maybe they can do something.”
Nuke the site from orbit. A stray thought fired in my mind. It's the only way to make sure, was the other stray thought. Guess I won't be grocery shopping, a third thought that crashed into the other two. But then we're out of food! forced its way throught the other three struggling thoughts and I knew we were in trouble.
A few minutes later and it's worse than it appears. “Tomorrow?” asked Spring. She was on the phone to The Office, informing them of the huge ever growing pulsating swarm of killer wasps that rules from outside Facility in the Middle of Nowhere. “The exterminators can't come until tomorrow? I see. Thank you.”
I leave these notes so that future generations may know the horror that was unleased here at the beginning of the 21st century.
Ah … wierdness in law. It seems that Adobe® added code to Adobe® Photoshop® to prevent images of currency to be manipulated using said program. In the discussion on Slashdot, USC Title 18 Part I Chapter 25 §504 came up. Relevent bits:
(i) all illustrations shall be in black and white, except that illustrations of postage stamps issued by the United States or by any foreign government and stamps issued under the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act of 1934 may be in color;
(ii) all illustrations (including illustrations of uncanceled postage stamps in color and illustrations of stamps issued under the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act of 1934 in color) shall be of a size less than three-fourths or more than one and one-half, in linear dimension, of each part of any matter so illustrated which is covered by subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of this paragraph, except that black and white illustrations of postage and revenue stamps issued by the United States or by any foreign government and colored illustrations of canceled postage stamps issued by the United States may be in the exact linear dimension in which the stamps were issued; and
(iii) the negatives and plates used in making the illustrations shall be destroyed after their final use in accordance with this section. The Secretary of the Treasury shall prescribe regulations to permit color illustrations of such currency of the United States as the Secretary determines may be appropriate for such purposes.
I may be breaking the law.
According to (i) above, all illustrations have to be in black and white, except for certains stamps that fall under the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act of 1934 (code). But (ii) above states that all illustrations have to be larger or smaller than actual size, unless they are in black and white! at which case, they can be actual size.
(iii) is pretty explicit, although I'm now concerned I may have to destroy my scanner.
You see, it all comes down to the most linked image on my site—that of
Conaway Andrew Jackson. I
scanned the image off the new US
$20 bill (well, not so new now) and while I don't have the full US $20 bill
being displayed, I do have the portrait that is fairly close to actual size
(at least on my monitor) and it's in color (okay, black and green). So, I'm
either violating provision (i) above (by having it in color) or (ii) above
(by having it near actual size) and (iii) by virtue of not having destroyed
the image or scanner, although technically speaking, the scanner does not
have plates, and the concept of a “negative” is pretty tenuous,
so I may not have to destroy my scanner.
But the size issue does concern me. I could check against a real US $20,
but my wallet is currently in the bedroom, and there's this huge ever growing pulsating
bee wasp that
rules from the center of the bedroom so the actual check will have to
But if the check does prove that the image of Andrew Jackson is smaller or larger than actual size (“Really officer! Check out the image here on my 72″ monitor—see! That doesn't match the actual size at all!”) I'm still probably violating provision (i) above by having it in color. I suppose I could just delete the image entirely and solve this and other problems but that still doesn't actually answer the question of “Am I breaking (or have I broken) the law?”
And it sucks that it would cost me $400 to have a lawyer go “Don't know, but delete it anyway just to make sure, unless you really want to test this in a court of law in which case hand over your bank account.”
Adobe and Photoshop are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.