Good Morning Ted and Jody:
It was great to hear your voice yesterday afternoon, Ted. I have not yet tracked down the natural gas electric generator you told me about yet, but I will keep looking. You are right, it would have come in handy when the power went out while I was in the middle of my colonoscopy prep.
On the 8th we still had a good six inches of snow on the ground. It then started to rain. 2 inches of rain, and less than 18 hours later we were bereft of snow. I took a photo of the front gravel before the rain started and then one about 18 hours later. They are attached as a pair and show how quickly we “recovered” from our fourth or fifth bout of Midwestern winter this year.
I should be flat on my stomach with pins stuck in my back and extremities right now. However, my acupuncturist came down with something she does not want to share (inflict) on others. So, I took photographs of the almost sunrise this morning. The actual sunrise was delayed about 40 minutes by a thick cloud bank in the east. I did see a cloud formation I rather wanted to capture. However, the best I could do was this crop and enlarge it. (And make it black and white) I have both the crop (above) and the larger photo (below) from which it was extracted. Then about 40 minutes later I did get the late sunrise in two places, near the 5-mile marker on WA 504 and then near the 9-mile marker on WA 504.Amanda story.
Again, it was great to hear your voice yesterday; stay, happy, healthy and warm.
Warmest regards, Ed
005 Alice Wanders the City
Fiction in 1383 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Alice Beaverton exited the sleeping cubical and walked to the elevator. Before going to prison, Alice had lead largely an isolated life. Yes, there was her mother, father, brother, sister-in-law and then a husband. But all her friends were on the net. School was on the net. Shopping was on the net. ‘Perhaps had I stuck to the net for shopping for things for Baby Jessica Ann, I would not be here now,’ she thought. ‘But, the things on the net were so expensive and I couldn’t touch them, feel them to find out if they would be suitable for Baby Jessica Ann. Besides, it was kind of exciting to be in the warehouse with even the few people that were there. People looked at me. What was it that shrink in the joint said? Something like look around with fresh eyes. Yes, time to look with fresh eyes.’ Rather than taking the elevator down to a public transport entrance, Alice pushed the button for street level and walk-way.
Exiting the building to the walk way was not a new experience for Alice Beaverton, but not one she experiences very often. There had been trips to the reestablished circus, the real museum, out to dine when she was younger, and the web school even had formal dances that one attended in real rather than virtual space. But Alice had never just walked to no place in particular before. She always had a destination. Today, she is killing time, looking around like the doc said, waiting for the next sleep cycle so she can do the second 6-hour sleep module. ‘So, which way to go?’ she asked herself. ‘Left, right? Up, down?’ as she peered over the rail of the walk way only to have a floater dock a few meters away and discharge an older man dressed in what appeared to be antique clothes. The floater immediately dropped away. She watched the man walk a few paces to her left and enter a portal with a small discrete sign over it proclaiming, FABRICATIONS. ‘What to hell,’ she thought and followed after the man.
At first Alice thought she had entered a wide-open space of tens of meters in width, depth and height. However, she quickly realized the room contained a number of glass walls separating identical devices sitting on pedestals. The walls were all mirrors. The ceiling was a mirror less than four meters above her. ‘If they had made the floor out of a mirror this place could seem infinite,’ thought Alice.
A slightly overweight young man, about Alice’s age and height, approached from the back of the room, which until now, Alice had not noticed as it was the only non-mirrored surface except for the frame around the portal in the room. “What can me make for you?” asked the young man.
“What kind of things can you make for me?” asked Alice.
“Anything, either operational or replica,” replied the young man.
“Do you need something to copy, or can you do it from the net?” Alice asked.
“The net is faster, but a working model will suffice. What do you have in mind?” asked the young man.
“What if what I want is bigger than this room?” asked Alice.
“We have facilities down stairs that will accommodate most big things. If necessary we can locate a fabrication unit outside in an open space,” replied the young man. “Say, you have never seen one of these,” pointing to one of the devices that was making something, “before, have you?
Alice shook her head to say no.
The young man beckoned her to follow him to the closest machine and when Alice and he arrived she could see there was a hinge and way to open a portion of the glass wall and gain access. The young man, opened the glass entrance a crack and she could hear a hiss. The young man closed the glass opening. “They work by spraying material that dries instantly in a predetermined place in three dimensions. When the pattern calls for different materials the system automatically changes to the new materials. Hence it produces things that have no opening and no moving parts but are totally functional.”
“What if what I want reproduced has moving parts?” asked Alice.
“Those kinds of items are fabricated in separate parts that are assembled after they are all made,” replied the young man.
Alice reached into her purse, felt around and produced the identity tab. Holding the identity tab up she asked, “What would something like this cost to duplicate.”
The young man reached out and asked, “May I?”
Alice handed the identify tab to him and he weighed it in his hand and then handed it back to her. “I would say no more than a credit or two,” he replied. “We could do it cheaper if we knew where it was on the net. That way we would not have to scan it to make a digital map of it.”
“Would your copy maintain any of the programming it contains?” asked Alice.
“Absolutely,” replied the young man.
Thank you. I will be back,” said Alice.
The young man said, “We are on commission, so, ask for me. My name is Jackson.”
“I’ll remember, and thank you again, Jackson,” said Alice.
Leaving Fabrications, Alice pondered the possibilities. ‘Make anything. Silly me, of course everything is made. I just didn’t know one could do it one thing at a time. I thought there were factories where things were made. I wonder where the factories are?’ she thought. She stopped walking, ‘where did the man I followed into that place go?’ That thought left her as a woman holding a small girl’s hand walked by. Instinctively, Alice turned and followed the woman and child.
The woman and child stepped on an open elevator and descended to a plaza some four or five levels below. Alice took the next elevator which went up instead do down. ‘I have got to pay more attention,’ she thought. She took her identity tab out of her purse and held it next to the control surface and, reading from the levels, said “to the plaza level.” The elevator stopped and reversed direction.
Exiting the elevator on the plaza, Alice Beaverton looked around and could not see the woman and the small girl anywhere. She shrugged and walked toward an older looking man sitting at an easel. The man was painting with brush and paints on a canvas. She could see the frames and edge of the canvas from the back as she approached. She had read about canvas and frames and paintings. But other than sketch on an art pad for her own amusement and for class assignments, she had never actually seen a canvas, paintbrush or someone painting before.
As she walked around behind the painter, she saw he was paining what would be called a pastoral landscape, with green grass, trees and flowers with light blue outlines of peaks I the distance. Alice did not know this was a pastoral painting rendered in pastels. In the lower right of his painting was a path leading about three quarter to the left and ending in the distance. The path was paved in gold bricks. Alice said, in a very quiet voice, “That is beautiful.”
The painter looked over his shoulder and said, “Thank you, it isn’t finished yet.”
Alice apologized, “I’m sorry, I must have been thinking out loud. But it is already beautiful.” Looking around at the modern city and back to the pastoral scene the man was creating,she asked, “Where is it?”
The man used his forefinger to tap his forehead three times, “In here.”
Alice laughed and said, “No wonder you paint it, for it must get crowed in there with all of that. It is good that you are letting it out or your head would explode.”
The painter laughed, “You got that right. Now I have to let the clouds out too; if you don’t mind.”
As the painter turned his attention back to his pastoral, Alice saw the woman with the small child across the plaza walking up a flight of stairs to a pair of large portals. The stairs were flanked by large statues of lions. She thought, ‘Ah there you are.” And she hurried across the plaza and followed the woman and small child up the stairs.