Posts Tagged ‘technology’

An icy wonderland

March 2, 2009

Ten, Omar, Mohammed, and I decided to go to Dubai Mall. I was driving my Hummer limousine, Mohammed had shotgun, and Ten and Omar were in the spacious back part. Which had an ice-skating rink in it. They were rehearsing.

We get to the mall and manage to find parking, grab our skates, and enter through the entrance near the aquarium. There, we had to stow away our normal walking shoes and slip on our skates, because the entire mall was covered in ice. So instead of walking from store to store, one had to skate. Which was good news for us, because only few people could skate well enough to shop in that manner, so there wasn’t too much people-traffic.

We made our way through the mall, stopping at the Adidas store to buy some french fries (weird, I know), and finally reached our destination: a huge rink smack-dab in the middle of the mall that had bleachers full of about ten thousand spectators. The show was about to start!

Ten and Omar changed into their costumes, and for some reason, Mohammed and I weren’t in the show. But we were like, crew people, in charge of music and lighting and such.

Anyway, I cross-faded the lights and Mohammed aimed a spotlight at the announcer. “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…” boomed his voice, “WELCOME TO THE THIRD ANNUAL ICE-SKATING EXTRAVAGANZA!” While he was talking, I was supposed to get my music ready for the routine, but my computer was refusing to work! I tried restarting it and everything, but nothing seemed to get my iTunes open. Which sucked, because I foolishly forgot to make a backup of the music I needed. “…LET THE SKATING BEGIN!” Shit! Ten and Omar had already taken their positions, waiting to hear the music cue, but I couldn’t get anything up and running!

“Listen loser, you’re gunna have to improvise,” I told Mohammed. “Don’t worry about it, I got it covered. I’m gunna sing the song myself,” he replied smugly. This actually did worry me, because Mohammed can’t sing for shit. Let alone in front of ten thousand people for some huge ice-skating event.

Suddenly, the music starts. What? How is this possible? I thought. It sounds exactly like the real song! With syncopation and rhythm and snare drums and backup harmonies and instrumentals and everything! I turned to look at Mohammed, who was now plugged into an amp, and he just winked at me. “Dude, seriously. This is fucking weird, how are you doing this?”

He then explained to me that because he’d heard the song so many times before, and because he’s part bedouin, part robot, he has the ability to use his brain like an extensive CD-ROM and burn shit onto it. So the music we needed was written onto his brain, and all he had to do was set up the necessary connections, and the music would play. This same procedure could be used for anything, including studying, watching movies, learning languages, memorising dance moves, and everything else one can possibly do in life. I was in awe.

Meanwhile, Ten and Omar started their routine. And they looked amazing! Ten landed the triple axle perfectly, while Omar skated backwards in front of her, matching her every move in reverse. Then came the part of the routine where he had to lift her over his head and spin on axis, let her go so she would fly through the air, then do some weird flip-thing, and she was supposed to land on the other end of the rink and spin to a stop. This is the part during their practice runs when they usually messed up. Because he’d throw her too far, and she’d end up crashing into the bleachers. So I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

They waited for the crescendo, then he lifted her into the air, and began spinning. After eight counts, he was supposed to fling her across the rink. Eight counts came and went, but the instrumental cue never came. In fact, it sounded like the CD was skipping. But then I remembered: there is no CD! I look at Mohammed, and he’s just standing there, looking confused. “Uhm… Sorry Ona, I don’t remember the next part of the song! My brain is stuck in this loop!”

I looked back at Omar and Ten, and things were not looking good. Because the rule of skating is, you follow the music cue. There was no way Omar would let Ten go until he heard that first note of the violin. So they were still spinning spinning spinning spinning spinning, faster and faster and faster. The ice underneath Omar’s feet was beginning to crack. He was literally drilling a hole through the rink!

“C’mon Mohammed, THINK! You know the next part! It’s like da-da deeeee, dadadaaa dum… da deeeee, dabadabadaaaaaaa… Remember?!” He obviously didn’t. His brain was indeed stuck. Stupid advanced bedouin-robot technology.

There was an ear-splitting crack, and the crowd gasped as the ice finally reached its brink and shattered, forcing Omar to stop spinning. He flung Ten in the direction he was supposed to, she flew gracefully through the air, and landed on a floating patch of ice on the other end of the rink. The audience went wild! They thought this was part of the performance! Omar and Ten were now on opposite ends of the ice-skating rink, which looked more like a semi-frozen ocean, with patches of ice strewn about the place. 

Not sure of what to do next, the two skaters began making use of their small ice-patches and did their own solo performances. But you could tell it was difficult, because the ice was all wobbly and stuff. I had to think fast.

Quick as a bolt, I turned the lighting machine on autopilot and ran downstairs to the garage where the Zamboni was parked. I jumped in the driver’s seat, put it on the submarine setting, and slowly submerged under the water, completely hidden from the crowd. Once I was fully below the surface, there was another garage door that opened into the rink, but from the underside of it.

I slowly cruised forward. On the dashboard were several buttons, with various useful functions. I was particularly concerned with finding the “ice restore” button. Finally, I found it. I then positioned myself in such a way that when I pressed the button, ice would shoot out from the top of the Zamboni, to reach the surface, and fill in the gaps. I did this for the entire length of the rink, and could see that Ten and Omar were back on track, because they were continuing the last part of the routine. Looks like Mohammed remembered the rest of the song after all! Now all I had to do was get back to the garage.

I turned the Zamboni around, to head back to the garage door, but it was nowhere to be found! Apparently it was only an entrance, not an exit. And the only other door led to the inside of the aquarium, where I definitely did not want to be, because there’s like, sharks in there. And everyone knows that sharks eat Zambonis for dinner. 

I heard the muted, underwater sound of the crowd applauding frantically, and looking up, I saw they were throwing roses and stuffed animals and other paraphernalia onto the rink, indicating their extreme level of enjoyment. Ten and Omar bowed several times, and after a while, skated off. Meanwhile, I was still trapped under the surface.

A penguin swam up to the passenger-side window and gazed sheepishly at me. He then took out a piece of paper and started scribbling something on it in permanent marker. When he held the paper up to the window, I could read what he wrote: nEEd hELp?

I nodded and signaled to him that yes, I did in fact need help, and he scribbled back: wAKE up!

And then I heard my phone ring, and Muaz was calling, telling me to wake up and come to uni.

Technology is not my friend.

February 1, 2009

So my phone stopped working again. I really hate it when that happens. And it’s not like it just died and doesn’t work at all, rather, it’s possessed by some evil demon spirit. For example, I try to call one person, it calls someone else. I try to send a normal message like “What time do we have class?” and it transforms my words into “I’m going to eat your soul, muahaha!” I try to scroll down, it scrolls up. I try to put it on Silent mode, it puts it on Outdoor mode. 

So you’re probably thinking I should just use reverse psychology on it and do the opposite of what I actually want, but I tried that. It doesn’t work. It has a mind of its own, I swear! Last night at like three in the morning it just started vibrating. Thinking I was getting a call of grave importance, I actually bothered to leave my awesome dream and wake up to answer it. But when I looked at the screen, no one was calling. In fact, the screen was off and the keypad was locked. But it was still vibrating. For like an hour. 

I tried to go back to sleep but I just couldn’t. So finally, I hid it in the deepest, darkest part of my closet, underneath old, ugly clothes that I never wear anymore, and tried to go back to sleep. That plan worked… for a while.

At around five, my alarm started ringing. Why? I have no idea. First of all, I don’t set my alarm to anything before six. Secondly, I specifically didn’t turn it on that night and instead resorted to using a stock standard alarm clock (i.e. a clock whose only function is to tell time and ring when you tell it to. Remember those?). And lastly, my alarm at the moment is Paper Planes by M.I.A. and my phone was blasting Thriller by Michael Jackson, a song that I never even put onto my phone in the first place. 

So I wake up to a muted Thriller, coming from somewhere in my closet, which creeped me out even more. They’re out to get you, there’s demons closing in on every side… I was about to pee my pants. So I got up and rummaged through my closet to find my phone and switch it off. I found it, yeah. But it didn’t turn off. Red phone didn’t work, cancel didn’t work, stop didn’t work, snooze didn’t work, pressing and holding the power button didn’t work, nothing. So I opened up the back to take out the battery and finally! Silence. 

So I tried to go back to sleep again, but now I had the Thriller music video in my head, so it was kinda difficult. Because I could swear I heard zombies dancing in my room.

Anyway, I finally wake up to the sound of a normal alarm clock, take a shower, and go downstairs to feed Feb and Tommy. But then I remembered that the night before, Omar said he’d pick me up in the morning, so I kinda had to call him to make sure he was awake and stuff, because he has an eight thirty class. So I went back upstairs to get my phone, hoping that I wouldn’t have to exorcise it again. It turned on, made a weird hissing sound, turned off, turned itself back on again, flashed a few times, vibrated, and then looked normal. Hm. 

I took it downstairs with me and set it down in the kitchen while I went to the bathroom mirror to put on my makeup. Out of nowhere, the Nokia ringtone sounds, followed by a few beats of Paper Planes, and then the last few seconds of Thriller (which, if you know the song, is the creepy narrator guy’s evil laugh). I’m not even kidding. 

I go try to call Omar, and his phone rings but he doesn’t pick up. Then my phone switches off and on again, and the whole demonic saga continued so I just opened it and took out my sim card, looking for another body to put it in. I found Ten’s old phone, but it was like, seriously dead. I found another blue phone, but that one displayed some psychedelic images and alien noises when I tried turning it on. My grandma’s using the other spare, so I couldn’t take that one, and Ma needs her phone too, so I couldn’t take hers. Meaning the only option left was Ma’s old phone whose keys are missing and has a battery life of five minutes.

I took out the sim card, and put in mine, and then turned it on. It seemed to work perfectly, but then a whole bunch of Arabic flashed over the screen and I didn’t know what it meant, and then it went BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP! and turned off. Whatever, at least it’s not playing devil music. So I charged it (Omar sent a message saying he’s on his way), and went to finish getting ready.

Then I was done. And bored. So I decided I wanted to check my facebook. I click on ignore, it accepts. Would I like to attend the event? No. You are now attending the event. Like, what? WHY IS EVERYTHING OPPOSITE?! And what the hell did I ever do to my phone (besides throwing it) and my computer (besides yelling at it) that I deserve such torture?! Surrriously. Finally I gave up with facebook. Gmail also didn’t let me do what I wanted to do, nor did MyUOWD. So I just threw my computer and my phone charger in my bag and went outside to get in the car with Omar.

And now magically, everything seems to be working fine. The only thing is, my phone isn’t telling time, instead it’s counting down to something. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a mass assembly of robots right now, counting down along with my phone. It’s at 03:17:38 right now, so we’ll see what happens at 00:00:00. The end of the world? Probably.


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