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Talkin' Smack: Real Time

A spine-tingling tale of the supernatural and the supercomputer

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

The last week of October is always a special time for me. It's that magical time when the California state government does its one right thing for the year, namely giving me back the hour of my life it stole from me in the name of Daylight Savings. The guy who invented Daylight Savings must have been a peecee user and/or British, curse his bones! I mean, what is it with those Daylight Savings freaks? Can't a man sleep without somebody telling him they've decided that for half the year the position of the sun in no longer the determiner of the time of day? My close personal friend Robert Heinlein once wrote that 80 percent of human wisdom is learning not to meddle in other people's affairs (or something to this effect). Time might be a good place to start practicing this wisdom.

See, when you start messing around with time, things can happen. Bad things. As I learned this weekend.

I was up in the late hours of Saturday night, trying to concentrate on writing my book, as Halloween revelers in the condo above me plodded their drunken ways across my ceiling.

"Uh, Dave," you say, "I thought you were a dot com billionaire. Why are you living in a condo?"

I live in Irvine, dear reader, and even for a dot com billionaire like me, real estate prices are outrageous. But that's beside the point. Quit interrupting.

As I was describing, the drunks upstairs were busy reveling in the Halloween festivities. Apparently they all decided to come costumed as Iron Man. At least that's what it sounded like from here. And their thumping was compounded by the first big Pacific storm of the season, which had rolled in earlier that day and was dumping rain drops the size of severed cat heads.

Now, the wiring in my apartment—

"Apartment? I thought you lived in a 'condo.' You're not a dot com billionaire!"

Shut up, reader, and let me finish. I have a lot of work to do. Aside from producing two Web sites, executive producing eight others and working on a very lengthy book, I'm in the midst of launching a whole new site. Just let me get through this column, and then you can say whatever you want.

"No. You lied. I want an apology."

I didn't lie, reader. My billions are tied up in closely held stock. And I'm not apologizing to you until you apologize for screwing up my chance of scoring a PowerBook.

"All right. Sorry."

Very well. As I was saying, the wiring in my apartment—

"Hey! What about that apology?"

I have nothing to apologize for.

"Then I take back my apology."

You can't take it back. It's in writing.

"You are an idiot, Dave."

I know. Isn't it delicious?

As I was saying, the wiring in my dot com billionaire apartment is pretty bad. It's a wonder that any of my equipment still works. I even have one light socket that actually emits a blue arc if I try to screw a lightbulb into it. Hey, how many peecee users does it take to screw in a lightbulb? I don't know. If you can think of a punchline, send it to me at [email protected]. I'll put it in my next column and give you credit, so you can see your name in phosphor lights!

But I digress. The rain came down heavier and heavier. The television started freaking out. So did the reception on my ATI XClaim VR 128 TV tuner that I always keep running on my old Power Mac 7300, which I recently fixed up.

I began to worry about my precious G4.

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