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Monday, 2011 January 10 : Volume 14, Number 1
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What We Got Here

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions; if I did, I’d probably break all of them within the first few days of January. For example: last year, I said that I would publish a new issue of The Legend-News on the first Monday of every month. And today is the second Monday of the month? Wrong, Gregorian breath! Because I am declaring that January 10 is the first Monday in January 2011. If’n ya don’t like it, hey, that’s your problem.

Crispy Critter Chris Guenther informs The Legend-News:

“Suprisingly, this place showed up on my Facebook page saying you may like this: The Dew Drop Inn.”

It’s in County Kildare, Ireland, though, not Pottawattamie County, Iowa.

Also from Chris:

I found an old CD of Dr, Demento songs I hadn’t listened to for about 10 years [Dr. Demento’s 25th Anniversary Album — Dementoid Ed.] and heard a song, sung to the tune of “Convoy“, called “Car Phone”.

“Car Phone” by Sheeler & Sheeler is a parody song from 1990. I have a page on it in the “Passing Lane” section of the web site. And, there’s a YouTube video with a slideshow of antique car phones. (Want just the song?)

I have a motorhome and belong to the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA). A couple of months ago, they asked “what to you listen to while driving down the road?“, so I had to mention our favorite artist. Well they published it in the latest issue in the “Rear View” section, so if anyone else belongs to this group (Bill? I know he has an RV), they might find it mildly amusing.

That section of Family Motor Coaching Magazine is available online, if you’re a member of FMCA. Thanks, Chris!

Oh, yeah: the stuff in this issue of The Legend-News:


Over the Double Nickel

The Stuff In My Place

I have too much stuff.

Most of it is books, music CDs, movie DVDs, comic books, and vinyl records; much of it stored in 70-plus boxes in the garage and basement, orange crates in the upstairs closet, and short boxes in my office. And then there are the half-dozen tall bookcases in the bedrooms, and an ugly industrial-grey shelf unit next to the big television on the first floor.

I have way too much stuff.

I’ve been collecting this stuff for over 45 years, moving it from house to house, never unpacking all of it and putting it on display; I’ve never had enough space for all of the shelves that I’d need, and I’ve never lived in a house with enough storage space to keep this stuff out of sight. Stuff comes in, stuff gets used, stuff goes into a box, boxes pile up. Then I move to a new house, taking all of my stuff.

A few years ago, I thought about all of this stuff, and I decided that I should reduce its quantity. Most of this stuff I’m never going to use again. Even if I managed to equal the amount of reading that I did in the late ’70s and early ’80s, I couldn’t re-read all of the books in the next twenty years; or play all of the records and watch all of the movies. I’ve got more responsibilities now, and less time for the entertainment that I once enjoyed. I get antsy just sitting down for half-an-hour to watch The Daily Show.

I don’t want to relinquish my books; I tell myself, “you may want to read these again, some day,” but I never do get around to reading them. When I attempt to triage my collection, I pull a volume from a box, flip through it to find a passage or two that I remember as being useful, then put the book back into another box, sagely nodding this is a keeper. Then a few years later I’d do that all over again. Meanwhile, newer stuff has arrived and my collection just got bigger.

And when I decide to sell some stuff, I find that it’s not worth nearly as much as I think that it is. Whattayamean, this 47th printing of a double-story Perry Mason book isn’t worth the ninety-five cent cover price?! It’s forty years old! It’s a collectible antique!

(Well, there was one exception: six paperback books by a single author, out-of-print for thirty years, with a cumulative cover price of less than ten dollars. I sold the lot for 65 bucks. Woo hoo!)

So here I am, in the year 2011 C.E., and I need to get this stuff out of my house and my life. I’ll spend more time selling this stuff than I did to acquire it, and I’ll sell it for far less than I paid for it — even accounting for inflation. I would just give away all of this stuff; but like most people, I need the money.

To buy more stuff.

— Ed.

“Over the Double Nickel” is an occasional column by Ed. Floden, who refuses to accept your reality. Collect them all!


Previously, in The Legend-News

This article originally appeared in the 2001 March 12 issue of The Legend-News.

For those of you who have never seen a “text adventure”, it’s a computer game whose interface is entirely text-based. Yes, you type your instructions, and you read descriptions of the action. No lotta-hundred frames per second graphics, or the need for a handheld controller; all that you needed was your keyboard. (Read more on Wikipedia.)

Downhill Trucker

While once again sifting through the boxes down in the storage room, looking for stuff that I should have thrown out years ago, I found a transcript from an old text adventure. The ink on the dot-matrix printer output was fading, but it was still readable. So I hooked up my flatbed scanner and ran the pages through my optical character recognition software, which produced the words which you see below.

This transcript is incomplete, so it probably isn’t a log of the entire game. And I’m not sure what was the name of this game, but somehow it seems very familiar. Very, very familiar.

You are sitting in the passenger seat of a 1948 Peterbilt flatbed truck.

> LOOK AROUND

To your left, in the driver's seat, is your partner Earl. He is sleeping.
Behind you, on the bed of the truck, are eight-five crates of chickens,
stacked to a height of 13 feet 9 inches. To your right is a sheer wall
of rock which rises hundreds of feet above your head. Ahead of you is the 
summit of a mountain pass. Your truck is facing southwest, more or less.

> SOUTHWEST

You're not driving the truck.

> TELL EARL TO GO SOUTHWEST

Earl can't hear you; he's sleeping.

> WAKE EARL

Earl snorts and wakes up. He yawns, and stretches his arms and legs.
Earl asks "Do we have any more grape Nehi?"

> GET NEHI

You can't see any Nehi here.

> LOOK CLOSELY

On the dashboard of the truck is a package of toothpicks. Between the
seats is an aluminum cooler which says "Coleman" on the front. An empty
envelope of onion soup mix lies on the floor of the passenger side of
the truck.

> OPEN COOLER

The cooler is open.

> LOOK INSIDE COOLER

You see a couple inches of water in the cooler. Floating in the water
are two bottles of grape Nehi.

> TAKE NEHI. GIVE NEHI TO EARL.

Earl says "Thanks!" and chugs the Nehi.

> SOUTHWEST

You're not driving the truck.

> EARL, DRIVE THE TRUCK

Earl puts down his bottle of Nehi and steps on the accelerator. The
engine booms loudly. The chickens awaken and begin to cluck. You are 
moving southwest towards the summit of the mountain pass.

> SOUTHWEST

Earl continues to drive towards the summit.

> SOUTHWEST

Earl continues to drive towards the summit.

HINT: Type A and then press return to repeat the previous action.

> A

Earl reaches the summit of the pass. He lights up the remaining half of 
a cigar and takes a puff. Looking out at the scenery, he says "My, ain't 
this purdy up here." You notice a warning sign that says "7%".

> A

Earl crests the summit and begins driving downhill. The truck begins to
pick up speed. You are zooming past a line of telephone poles.

> EARL, SLOW DOWN

Earl downshifts into sixth gear. The truck continues to accelerate. The
telephone poles zoom past you at a faster rate.

> A

Earl shifts into fifth gear, but the shift knob detaches from the shift 
lever. The truck continues to accelerate. The telephone poles are just a 
blur.

> EARL, SCREW ON THE KNOB

Earl attempts to thread the knob back onto the lever. The ash of his
cigar falls off into the cuff of his pants. A small fire starts, but
Earl slaps his pants and extinguishes it.

> EARL, SLOW DOWN

Earl doesn't hear you. He is staring fearfully at the road ahead, his
hands frozen to the steering wheel.

> PRESS THE BRAKE

You're not driving the truck!

> EARL, PRESS THE BRAKE

Earl stomps on the brake pedal as hard as he can, but the pedal goes
all the way to the floor and stays there. Earl says, "It's sorta like
steppin' on a plum."

You see a hairpin turn ahead. The road turns to the left.

> EARL, TURN LEFT.

You see a another hairpin turn ahead. The road turns to the right.

> EARL, TURN RIGHT

You see a tunnel ahead. A sign warns you "Clearance 12 feet 0 inches".

> EARL, SLOW DOWN

Aren't you forgetting something?

> AM I?

Yes.

> WHAT?

The chickens are stacked too high for you to travel through the tunnel.

> EARL, STOP

You don't have any brakes, remember? The truck enters the tunnel. The top
row of chickens is knocked off.

> EARL, SLOW DOWN

Earl tries, but he can't. The truck continues down the mountain and
around the switchbacks and hairpin turns.

> PRAY

Good idea. You need all the help that you can get. You are entering a town.

> EARL, SLOW DOWN

Earl can't slow down. The truck enters the town, and smashes into the 
side of the feed store.

*** YOU HAVE DIED ***

Do you want to play again (Y/N)?

Followup
Just as I was about to send off this newsletter, I found a torn scrap of paper that seems to be from another game transcript. I think that it might be the game above, but I’m not sure.

You are in a maze of twisty little roads; one of them looks like a
can full of worms, another one looks like malaria germs.

The Legend-News is published almost monthly by TechRen Enterprises, listing to starboard. Copyright 2011 TechRen Enterprises. Send subscription requests, unsubscribe demands, complaints, kudos, suggestions, news and other contributions to Legend-News@cw-mccall.com. Almost everything in The Legend-News has been written by Ed. Floden, except for the stuff that he blames on someone else. “I tawt I taw a puddytat! I did! I did taw a puddytat! ”