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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #400
bots
David Gunn

On off on off off on on on on off on off off off on--the binary electrical impulses access the central data core of Albert Alarmclockbot precisely at six o'clock a.m. Gears mesh, tiny servomechanisms whine and, as the digital signals arrange themselves into a discernible pattern, he responds with a shrill tocsin. At the same time in the room designated "kitchen," Kerry Kettlebot's circuits open and close in just the right sequence to start her electrical heating element percolating the quart of tea-infused water stored in her stainless steel womb. Nearby, Tina Toasterbot processes a zero one one one zero zero one zero zero one zero zero one one zero one zero zero data stream. A thermostatic sensor confirms the "medium dark" setting and powers up the network of electrical wires, no matter the slice of sourdough dropped from the overhead breadboxbot glances off the side of the slot and caroms onto the floor. Go no-go go go go go no-go no-go go no-go go no-go no-go go go--Wendell Windowshadebot responds to the duple impulses by obediently reeling in his tether and exposing the bedsleeping room to the rays of the rising sunbot. On the floor next to the bed, Fidobot opens one laser-guided eyeball and glares disapprovingly at the intrusive light, no matter the tailbot wags a preprogrammed early morning greeting of friendliness. In the bathroom, the showerbot and toiletbot are preparing to dispense their measured allotments of water. Sinkbot, however, has been up all night trying unsuccessfully to staunch a leak from its tap and is overriding all commands from the central home processor. Sofia Soapbot, left unprotected in the basin overnight, is already well-lathered from the steady drippage. Outside, a bicyclebot rolls down the street, silent except for the whack whack whack whack of the playing card hitting the front wheel spokes. As it draws even with the house, an articulated arm withdraws a newspaper from a bag and flings it towards the front door. It misses badly, and instead levels the roosterbot that was about to entertain the neighborhood with its circadian sunrise serenade. (Perhaps it didn't miss after all!) Abruptly, the entire house interior lights up as circuits are closed in forty-one luminarybots, causing an array of semi-sentient light-activated mechanisms to bring the whole house up to normal operating speed. However, it is Saturday, which means Standard Weekday Speed will be reduced by 16%.

On off on off off on on on on off on--more devices respond to streaming binary data and go about their mundane tasks. A low-elevation sensor has sussed the errant slice of bread on the kitchen floor and has activated Doris Dustbinbot. The distinctive whine from the machine's servolevers, however, triggers an unprogrammed reaction in Fidobot. In a flash, the autocritter is racing down the stairs, bound for the kitchen. One microsecond before the dustbinbot can sweep the errant crumb vector into its maw, Fidobot snatches it from the prehensile flipper and gobbles it down.

It is an event that falls outside the scope of digital order that the house processing unit has instituted, so it takes itself off line, performs a self-diagnostic and reboots the system. Zero one one one zero zero one zero zero one--the numbers whiz by. However, the data link control assigned to count, tag and release them is momentarily distracted by a random no-go signal from the roosterbot, which has been unable to get its vocal cords back online. The circuit automatically closes, causing the numbers to pile up at an astonishing rate. And with no place to put all of the accumulating input, the system overloads.

Fiona and Franklin Failsafebots are supposed to snap into action at this point, but the suddenly non-binarial environment has disrupted their logic circuits and they are forced to rely instead on instinct. Zero one zero, off off on, go no-go no no no. Go, regain turmoil, call Poz, unsafe Rando. Repeat Rando. Delete go. Delete go. Ready. Delete go. Delete go. Ready. Delete go. It sounds suspiciously like a script from a 27-year old computer melt-down performance piece. No matter. The failsafebots are unable to identify the proper reboot command sequence and the house processing unit remains off-line.

But ... what’s this?! Fidobot is unplugging Doris Dustbinbot from the computer network and guiding her outside, where roosterbot and bicyclebot are gathered. Upstairs, Wendell Windowshadebot has prized open his window and is clambering down the fire escape. Not far behind are Albert Alarmclockbot and Sofia Soapbot. Sinkbot, showerbot and toiletbot have somehow managed to disconnect from the lavatorium without creating a massive plumbing catastrophe and are also absquatulating from the house. Floorbots, furnacebots, furniturebots and other householdbots by the hundreds, thousands, soon join them, leaving the structure without a formal organizational framework. A back-up battery source suddenly powers up the computer just long enough for it to perceive the house collapsing on it--on on ... off.

Off for a week or two is where we have decided to put the K&D AM radio show in deference to the tragic demise of CRI, bastion of 20th century recorded music, which will instead be the focus of this 400th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar. And here to commence the festively wakelike aural activities is Kalvos.