There was a little dock down by the lake that we used to sit on every evening, for no other reason than to count the stars as they slowly revealed themselves so high above the trees. He'd smile at me and I'd lean my head on his shoulder, it was the only time we really spent together, these times, the universe could have ended just then and I'd not have minded one little bit. I'd trail my toes through the water and watch the reflection of a dreamy pink sky in the ripples.

Sometimes he'd tie a little piece of string to a gnarled up old stick, always a different one, he'd pick it up along the path so that he could pretend to fish, though he'd never use a hook or bait, he never could bare the thought of hurting any creature. (That was always ironic to me, since I'm quite sure his little heart ached, and hurt more than any pain he could have inflicted.) I think he just liked the idea of watching the dangling string dancing in the wind, though it wasn't really a string, he would simply pull a thread from the faded, loose fabric of his jacket. It was the jacket my mother, his lover, had given him before she slipped from this world, he never took it off, I was the only one that knew why but he didn't mind the questioning glances every so often, it was his little secret, ours. Every so often he'd let me wash it but he'd sit by the old half-barrell we used for laundry until I was finished. He'd let it dry in the wind just a bit, and then he'd wrap it around his shoulders again, I guess it reminded him of the way she used to stand behind him with her soft, tiny hands across his stomach, her body pressed up behind his.

He loved her too much, I think, too much.. and no matter what I did to fix it, no matter how many times we took in the evening together, or how many sunsets came and went, his soul had left with hers and only a tiny piece remained, that piece was mine and always would be. His heart was in nothing that he did, except those evenings.. that's why I longed for them so, just to know he was at peace in this world, if only for a time. He had tried, I know, to sort through the thoughts he had, but there was something changed in his mind, and the damn thing never got everything right, it never would in this lifetime.

He's left me now, left me and everything and everyone to be with her, the only place he truly belongs I think. I miss him, and the lake seems so lonely now.. but every evening I still wander down to the dock and slip my shoes off. I trail my feet through the water lightly and pretend that I can see the reflection of his smiling face amidst that of the sunset's. Sometimes I swear it is more than my longing imagination and I tilt my head slightly, resting it upon an invisible but ever present, comforting shoulder.. I'm so sheltered here, no where else but here. I smile as the wind blows gently across my cheek as his fingers once did, his presence only in the form of a gentle breeze, but it is enough and I know by the way it picks the fallen leaves up and tosses them into the sky that he is truly happy now.

"CANNOT PROCESS" the error read.
"Fucking computers" is what I said.

What must I do - What must I try
To fix these errors before I die?

"Read the manual" the sysadmin said.
And So I read comic books instead.

Nibbles, bits, and bytes,
Whatever I try, the computer fights.

Unix, Linux, and Microsoft,
I've tried them all and still am lost.

Hardware, software, icons and GUIs,
Are all very confusing to us newbies.

Acronym hell is where I'm at!

Screw it all - Screw each damn thing!
I'll make my Escape to Everything!
The design of the I-85403 CPU was a pesky process, at the very least.

You see, originally, the newest class of merchant ship, the Sabretooth Frigate, was supposed to have the I-85400 processor installed in it. The damn thing wouldn't even start its engines, in the initial revision. Oh, we tried to jumpstart it, but do you have ANY idea how big jumper cables are for a space frigate? We needed several dozen shuttles just to lift the things into place.

So I set forth to design the I-85401 for the Sabretooth. I added new instructions.. including ones that would regulate the temperature on the showers, so that you wouldn't get those damn scorching ones, or freezing cold ones. Not only that, but with a little engineering, I could make someone's shower piping hot with the press of a button, hopefully so they'd jump out in front of one of the security cameras. Oops!

Installing the I-85401 was fairly simple, since it used the same socket as the I-85400. I popped out the old dusty beast and slid in the shiny new I-85401, and flicked the switch. The lights flickered and then went out.. and the I-85401 turned cherry red. I dove for cover just in time to see the I-85401 explode, splattering hot metal from the contacts and ceramic shapnel all over the room. I peeked over the top of the desk and saw a large piece of the chip embedded in the tabletop.

This inspired the design of the I-85402.
This time I made sure to add some circuit breakers, fuses, and the like on top of the design for the I-85401. The chip came out of the processing machine a little thicker, but otherwise identical. I hefted the beast down to the central control room, but as I walked down the last hallway, I found myself in a faceplant. I had tripped over one of the obnoxious lips they put in the doorways of spaceships so that the doors can seal perfectly if they need to in case of emergencies. The I-85402 prototype had skidded across the floor until it connected with the far wall, where it had shattered, spreading my precious chip across the ship's smooth deck.

Cursing and rubbing my bruised shin, I stormed up the stairs and back into the research lab to start over AGAIN with the I-85403. I didn't even know whether my last design even worked or not. Not that I really cared, I was twitching from staying up the last 84 hours straight trying to get the damn thing finished. This version I bumpered with heavy neoprene, not to have the same thing happen to me again that happened to the last chip. Gingerly, I lifted the freshly pressed chip from the mold, I tenderly tiptoed down the iron steps and down the hallway.
"Hey! How's it going?!" Shelly, the girl I had had a crush on for the entirety of the 3 years had scared the piss out of me. I fumbled, I dove, and somehow managed to catch the I-85403 before it hit the ground. There was NO way I was going to do this again. Shelly kicked my upturned ass as she walked by. "Long night, killer?"
"Not the time, Shelly.." I muttered as I picked myself up and practically sprinted to the control room. There was NO way I was going to lose this chip. Panting, I slapped the chip into the open socket and pressed the button. Crossing my fingers, I leaned against the wall, waiting to see what happened.

Oh the ship started alright.
But the damn showers haven't turned off yet.

No matter what I did to fix him, Dman never got a damn thing right.

I cajolled, harangued, beat, tarred, feathered, pleaded, kowtowed, brown nosed, spade, neutered, eviserated, immolated, emascualated, feminized and feminazized him to no avail.

I offered knives, guns, artillery, kittens, puppies, bottle rockets, roman candles, Roman Catholicism, bingo, gambling, boats, ships, Evian and sewage all without success. He still didn't get anything right.

I told him his positions were egregious, gregarious, untenable, hilarious, unspeakable, didactic, outrageous, bombastic, pompous, self serving, unredeemable and unnerving. He didn't care.

For help I asked Saige, Yablo, Nate, baffo, MissCreant, Master Yoshi, /dev/joe, and Ophie. I asked m1a9366b, fondue and craigc. None could help nor would that they could because no matter what I did to fix him Dman never got a damn thing right.

Apparently there has been a great Dman bashing cease-fire. Fuck that, as Dman's biggest fan I will continue to bash for these reasons:
  1. It's become part of everything culture. When I first got here, it was silly nodeshell insults, but it became so much more. You can't read through e2 without thinking who is this Dman guy, and why are so many ppl pissed at him?
  2. Dman defends himself so well (when he wants to) that bashing is sometimes worth it just for the response.
  3. Dman is the Man when it comes to XP and rank. If you can't bash the Man, who's left to bash?
  4. Most importantly, I want to because it makes me happy.
More seriously though, what's wrong with the occasional intelligent (or in this case attempt at artistic) rant against someone, even if it is Dman, who BTW is the best damn noder around this place?

In all my years of computer engineering, I thought that nothing was impossible. Sometimes the problem required some simple debugging, or some creative new application of an old idea. Most of the time it required that you twist your mind around so much that you think like a toaster or an infrared sensor. Less often, you could solve a problem simply by brute force of will, trying every single god-damned possible solution until something finally worked. I thought there wasn't any computer probleme that couldn't be solved by a smart engineer.

That was when I was hired for the Everything machine.

It worked well enough, at first, with the big ticket items: flying cars, moon shuttles, FTL engines smaller than a phone book, giant donuts. Slightly more complex items were a bit harder: porn that never got boring, the best mousetrap possible, nuculear-powered submersiable wiccans. A very few amount of items were almost impossible to fabricate until some leap of genius occured, such as the non-replicating politician, the un-funny monkey, and the Philipinno midget spy film. (For some reason it just wouldn't get it, until someone removed the level 7 diagnostic module and replaced with a dual-operating level 6A.) However, everything was going according to schedule, more or less, and the machine was nearing completion.

I was working late one night, entering some of the smaller, more nonessential items into the Everything machines vocabulary, when I hit a snag. I fed it a new sample, and it spit something out that vaugley resembled it, but just barely. I checked the settings to see if they were correct for this type of item, and they were. I ran a diagnostic, it checked out, but it also said that it was reproducing the sample correctly. This didn't make any sense.

I pulled out the diagnostic modules, and self-checked them found that they were ok, reinstalled them, tried again, and got the same false return. I started to take the machine apart, trying each piece seperatly, and getting no results.

Morning came, and the next crew showed up. I showed them my problem, and they offered some suggestions, but none of them worked. Eventually, we called the project chiefs, and they weren't able to find anything wrong, except for the fact that the Everything machine wasn't quite producing everything.. The project halted for 3 weeks as the machine was disassembled and checked and re-checked and put back together. We were confident that it would work this time. I fed the machine the sample, and it spat out something...wrong. The same as it always had.

The machine was considered a failure. Oh, it had it's uses, but it pretty much became a curiousity, and eventually was forgotten about. A lot of people have their theroies as to why the machine didn't work, but I feel that some things are just intrinsic to the human soul, that no matter what you do, they just can't be translated. We feel them so much in our gut, that to intellectualize it is to ask for failure.

No matter what you do, there's just no way to teach a damn machine to make a waffle.

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