an entry in OLA Scary Story Contest 2000

by Steven, age ten

In June 1991, a ghost named Fred lived in New Hampshire. Fred wakes up at 8:00 a. m. to go to work. His job is working with computer hardware. Hardware is working with the wires and the printerwire and so on. Fred likes being a ghost. He likes his job because he can go through wires to fix them. He works in a tall office building. He only works on his breaks off from college.

Every break, he comes home. Usually he gets a new job. He really likes his college. His college is in Hanover, New Hampshire.

One day at Fred's work, he was eating lunch at the diner. Then he saw that everybody was looking at him and the waiter thought he was dressed up for Halloween early and brought him a pumpkin. The next day he ate there he scared everybody away by being a ghost. Now it closes if they see him nearby.

Fred was the name of a computer game I had on my old ZX Spectrum when I was a kid. It was published by a company called Quicksilva, in 1984.
In the game, you are Fred, an archaeologist, who is trapped inside a pyramid. Your objective is, you guessed it, to find your way out. Along the way, you can collect loot. But beware of mummies, animals, ghosts, and other dangerous things. When you finally made it to the exit, another maze awaited.

The game was made for the ZX Spectrum 48. It was in 2d, so you could only walk left and right, and move up and down with the ropes. Although the concept of escaping a maze wasn't very original, Fred was surprisingly entertaining. The graphics were good (at least for that era in computer graphics), and made good use of the available colors. The sound effects, although not too many, supported the game well.

Update: according to stupot, the game was called "Roland On The Ropes" on the Amstrad CPC.

In cyclist slang, the use of the term "Fred" is pejorative. It basically refers to a desk jockey who spends thousands of dollars on bike swag and gear, but has no skills, no power. It's basically the fatass with a $2000 titanium bike that he rides once a month, if that.

On the one hand, if he has the money, and riding a superb piece of cycling engineering brings him joy, even if he only rides on rare occasion, then great. However, this is almost never the case. There is a difference between a newbie with money, someone who will grow into a serious rider, and a Fred. Fred will never be a serious biker, because Fred is an asshole. The beautiful bike will never bring him joy. His heart will never animate cold steel into bliss on two wheels. He's a joyless person who brings sadness into the shop, who sucks the oxygen from every room he walks into.

Here's what happens when you walk in the shop - The guys size you up, just like everywhere else. In the Army, they want to know how strac your shit is, what your physical conditioning is like, your attitude. In a code shop, the coders want to know your chops, they want to know your Kung-fu. Is your code spaghetti, or one slick hack after another? In a bike shop, the first thing they do is look at your legs.

Real cyclists have legs like nobody else on the planet. The calves bulge, the quadriceps look like a writhing cable woven from angry snakes. Fred does not have these legs. Fred's legs are flabby. This would not be a big deal - Americans are sedentary and most people have pretty flabby legs, but Fred pretends to be a cyclist. It's the pretending that's offensive. It is offensive to a guy that makes $10/hr and loves cycling to have to listen to the endless pointless griping of a spoiled middle manager who owns a bike that the bike mechanic will never be able to afford. It sucks. You have to earn your bullshit. The legs don't lie.

Nobody is more evangelical about people getting into cycling than cyclists. But there is a snobbery there too, an elitism. People are elitist. Think about the long conversations here on node-fu, and not noding about noding until you've earned it. It's the same in cycling, because it's human nature. It's about people getting things they didn't earn, which sucks and is simultaneously a fact of life.

Nobody likes Fred. But everyone has to deal with him.

Also an acronym for Flashing Rear End Device (or Fucking Rear End Device, depending on who you ask.) Sometimes known affectionately as "Freddy", it's the little blinking red light on the end of a freight train. The FRED serves as both a telemetry device, sending information about the train to the engineer, and to make the train visible at night.

In a railroad yard, if a train has a FRED attached, it is an active train, and could leave at any minute. This is useful information for train-hoppers and the like.

Frankenputer = F = Fred Foobar

fred n.

1. The personal name most frequently used as a metasyntactic variable (see foo). Allegedly popular because it's easy for a non-touch-typist to type on a standard QWERTY keyboard. In Great Britain, `fred', `jim' and `sheila' are common metasyntactic variables because their uppercase versions were official names given to the 3 memory areas that held I/O status registers on the lovingly-remembered BBC Microcomputer! (It is reported that SHEILA was poked the most often.) Unlike J. Random Hacker or `J. Random Loser', the name `fred' has no positive or negative loading (but see Dr. Fred Mbogo). See also barney. 2. An acronym for `Flipping Ridiculous Electronic Device'; other F-verbs may be substituted for `flipping'.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Pseudonym of Othon Aristides, french illustrator and writer. Author of many illustrated novels (bandes-dessinées), Fred is famous for his poetry and his mustache.

Born in march 1931 in Paris, Fred is the creator of the satyric magazine Hara-kiri. He is also the author of Philémon and a dozen of other illustrated novels. Beside bande-dessinée, Fred worked on many movie projects and even had a succesfull singer career in the 60's, working in association with Jacques Dutronc.

A best of of Fred's work, called Fredissimo, was released in 2000. Fred also wrote some script for other illustrators such as Alexis, Gotlib and Goscinny.

Fred (?), n. [AS. fri peace. See Frith inclosure.]

Peace; -- a word used in composition, especially in proper names; as, Alfred; Frederic.


© Webster 1913.

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