Tag Archives: electricity

2709. What a party!

Quite frankly it was extremely confusing. Siobhan and Paddy had invited everyone under the sun to their 25th wedding anniversary. It was one of those things, in this year of 2041, which rarely occurred. Few these days reached a 25th anniversary in anything. So it was particularly intriguing to attend such an event.

A large crowd (I guess it was about fifty people, but all crammed into an average house made it seem particularly large) had arrived to celebrate the occasion.

The trouble was in knowing who was real, who was some sort of artificial intelligence, who was a hologram, and who was an extra-terrestrial. The extra-terrestrials were easy enough to identify once you saw two of them. They seemed to have only the one model when it came for them to look like Earthlings. You’d think with their advanced technologies that they’d be able to assemble different looking models. But they seem stuck with the one template and so they all looked the same. Of course they weren’t real. Extra-terrestrials are renowned for staying at home and plotting a takeover, while they send robotic machinery to simulate their presence.

The Earth robots with artificial intelligence were difficult to tell until you spoke to them. They were rude and haughty. For example, I struck up a casual conversation with someone by simply saying “What a splendid occasion”, and I got such an insulting and foul-laced response that I knew I was talking to an AI.

The hologrammatic manifestations were perhaps the hardest to gauge. You knew quite quickly when you encountered one simply by a surreptitious peek at you mobile phone behaviour. Holograms seem to inflict phones with a wee bit of white noise. The difficulty lay not with identifying who was a hologram but with not knowing if there was a real person somewhere else on the planet actually manipulating the hologram like in real life, or if you were talking to a pre-recorded hologram that was set on repeat. Usually if you came back in about half an hour and they repeated the conversation then you could be pretty sure you were conversing with a machine.

By the end of the evening I had ascertained that I was the only human being celebrating the occasion. Not even Siobhan and Paddy were there. In fact I learnt from a robotic AI know-all that they’d split up about ten years earlier and this was all a charade. A farce. A façade.

It was quite disorienting at first. Before I left in my electric car I went out into the garage and switched off the house’s electricity mains and turned on the Cloud Blocker.

Ha! Ha! What a party! As far as I know all were stuck motionless at the party till the wee small hours.

2593. A shocking tale

There was a knock on the door. It was the KGB; or the FBI; or the MI5; or the CCCPC; or the whatever. It didn’t really matter who, they were all the same, and doing the rounds.

Winnie had foolishly turned on her Christmas tree lights. Didn’t she know there was a power shortage? People were trying to charge their electric cars. The local steel mill was trying to run on a windmill. It was almost as bad as Mrs. Higginbotham of 95 Snodgrass Avenue who had selfishly plugged in her electric heater. Fortunately she had died of the cold.

Winnie explained that her small string of Christmas lights were solar. It was dismissed as a lie. Who could light up solar Christmas tree lights in this weather? Winnie was handcuffed and taken away. When solitary confinement didn’t budge her into submission she was taken out and electrocuted.

2567. City life

Serenity’s husband was away on a business trip – for the whole working week. It was no bother. Serenity was at work herself during the day. Upon finishing work she would go home, cook something to eat, watch a bit of television, and go to bed.

It was on the Tuesday night, around eleven o’clock. Serenity was awoken by noticing a light left on in the shed in the garden. It wasn’t a very big shed. Her husband used it mainly for storing tools and the ride on lawn-mower. (Yes, even though they were a very liberated household, her husband was still the one who mowed the lawn).  It had been a handy shed when the kids were growing up; a couple of bunks when they had friends stay over was a Godsend.

The light being on bothered Serenity; mainly because she had not been into the shed for a while and if she didn’t turn it off it would continue to stay on all week and chew up a bit of the grocery money in electric costs. So she got out of bed and went out into the dark. She opened the shed door, walked in, turned off the light, and returned to the house.

As she got into bed she noticed something. The light in the garden shed was on again. It was strange, but not enough to bother Serenity. She would turn the garden shed off properly in the morning. She went to sleep.

In the morning she had forgotten about the light being on in the garden shed. She put a few vegetables and a couple of tough meat chops in the slow cooker and left for work. The cooked result would be enough for her and her cat!

That evening when she got home someone had been in the house and eaten her dinner and left a mess in the kitchen. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. When her husband returned at the end of the week they were leaving San Francisco whether he liked it or not.

2508. Off the power grid

We are very blessed to be rich. We do not want for much. We live in a rather well-admired suburb of a rather well-admired city. We have fourteen acres at the edge of the town surrounding our eleven bedrooms each with an en suite. It means friends can come and stay whenever they wish.

Being rich comes with its responsibilities. We are in a position to set an example to others, especially when it comes to care of the planet. That is why a good quarter of our fourteen acres (we removed the orchard) is reserved for solar panels. We are not even on the grid. It is an impressive thing. It’s like we are living out of the rat race that the rest of the world plunges headlong into. As one visitor put it: “Oh the silence! I had forgotten what birdsong was like, and the sound of the breeze in the trees!” Care for the planet is our motto.

It is a privilege to set an example. Of course, once the visitors go the thump of the diesel generators drives us up the wall.

2492: A disappointing day

Griselda stood at her kitchen window and watched. It was eight in the morning and workers had arrived with their trucks and cranes to replace the old power pole that fed electricity to her house.

The electricity was cut but it was a winter’s day and the log burner was boiling water for coffee and for a soup for lunch.

Ten o’clock came. It was time for a coffee.

Two hours after coffee it was lunch time. Luckily Griselda watched from her kitchen window so she could prepare something to eat without leaving the scene.

Three o’clock came. It was time for yet another coffee. She could hardly drag herself away from the scene even for a quick visit to the bathroom.

Come five o’clock and it began to get dark. Suddenly the electricity came back on. The workers packed up and left.

It was the most uneventful nine hours Griselda had spent in ages. It was a great disappointment.

She had waited, camera in hand, all this time, and there was no accident; no man plummeting to the ground from a high cherry-picker; no crane collapsing and squashing the cab of a vehicle. The news media would’ve paid extravagantly for such snap shots.

Griselda had been transfixed for hours and all for nothing.

2291. Midnight mystery

Every time the clock strikes midnight, the entire house goes dark for 15 minutes. It doesn’t just go dark; everything switches off. I don’t find it scary, but it’s a nuisance. My girlfriend, who lives with me, finds it a bit scary however. I have to reset my alarm clock. I have to reset the oven clock, and the microwave clock, and the coffee machine clock. The night light above the garage door turns on when the power returns, only to not go off until it is reset. But the biggest hassle of all is that unless I thought to set it earlier, the bread-maker turns off in the middle of its cycle and there is no bread in the morning.

Needless to say, I called an electrician. He checked everything and said there was nothing wrong with anything and it shouldn’t happen. I got the feeling he didn’t believe me. He left, saying the only possible explanation was that things were being turned off by the supply company. Why don’t I phone them?

So I phoned them and all they said was don’t be silly. There’s no reason in the world why they would cut the electricity to my house for 15 minutes every midnight.  It was a bit of a relief because my ex-wife works at the supply company and I was afraid I might have struck her on the phone. She despises me and we’d be incapable of having a civil conversation. So luckily I didn’t get her when I called the power company. But it still doesn’t solve my problem as to why the entire house goes dark for 15 minutes every midnight.

1432. Rampant teens

Percy Ellis and Gilbert Eichstaedt were two sixteen year olds who had let their hormones go rampant. In the area was a tower that enabled cell phone coverage for the forty or so houses in the rural valley that couldn’t connect to the phone satellite. The tower relayed a connection. The locals relied on the tower for communication with the outside world both for internet and phone.

Percy and Gilbert got in a jeep, and driving up a bumpy farm track reached the tower. They were messing around and then Percy cut some wires on the tower “because they were there” and the forty or so houses were plunged into no coverage.

Mr Eddie Edwards lived in a farm house near the tower. It was a good thirty minute stroll to the tower. He set out on foot, for it was a lovely day, to see why there was no coverage. When he reached the tower he saw the cut wires. Then he heard voices calling for help.

Percy and Gilbert had driven their jeep over a bank and the vehicle was perched precariously on the edge of a cliff, rocking, with the two inside.

“Help! Help! Phone for help!” they cried when they saw Mr Eddie Edwards looking down from the top of the bank.

Mr Eddie Edwards strolled the thirty minute walk back to his house. He put on the kettle to make a nice cup of tea.

1366. Thank you, darling

Hank was big time in a big company. The company supplied electricity to at least half the city. Despite his importance and huge salary, his wife, Kitty, owned and operated a small take-away food business. It had been Kitty’s life-time dream to operate such a place. And now they were rich enough for dreams to come true!

Oh but sadness of sadnesses! Kitty’s business was not going well. Not enough customers were calling to sample her delectable dinners.

But then a miracle happened! Half the city was plunged into darkness just before dinner time. The area around Kitty’s business had electricity. But you’ve no idea how many people flooded into Kitty’s shop to purchase dinner.

Thank you, darling.