The Expensive Universal Instrument – part 3 is here! Sorry it took a few days folks, but I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Our fanboy finally gets to unpack the new toy and play with it…or can he? Weirdness ensues in part 3!
The Expensive Universal Instrument – part 3 – The unpacking
The dark mysterious chest beckoned inside the cardboard box. I shoved aside the brown envelope full of documents and fondled the glossy metal. The cool feel of it kept me mesmerized for a moment.
I greedily lifted the chest out of the plain box. The envelope fell to the floor. I let it. The Expensive Universal Instrument was here! This isn’t the time to bother with papers.
I momentarily paused and grew anxious. Maybe I should take some pictures, I thought. I should film this! I remembered this was all very hush hush, covered in confidentiality agreements outlined in all the mumbo-jumbo I had signed already. I shook myself and rushed over to the kitchen table. I knocked aside the empty fast food containers and disposable cutlery and caressed the chest again. Why bother to wait?
I frowned. The thing didn’t seem to have any latches. How does this thing open? I felt around, running my hands along the seams. This is so weird!
While my hands were feeling around the bottom, I heard a click and the top cover just retracted. How neat! I can’t even see where it shrunk into! I wonder how they did that. The lid was really quite cunningly retracted and I could not see where it had gone. Everything was smooth and slick.
I made a mental note to review the delivery casing when I made my report to StuffWeCanSell Inc. This is out of this world!
Inside the chest, on dark foam padding, lay an obsidian tablet about 5 inches square. It was black, completely black. It barely reflected any light. I couldn’t see any buttons or speakers or even a screen. Freako!
Reverently, I touched it. Unlike it’s container, it was warm to the touch. Bewildered, I gently, gingerly picked it up out of its foam cradle and inspected it. My sense of weird was tingling.
Unlike my iThing, and any other gadget I’d ever seen, the Expensive Universal Instrument was completely featureless! No buttons on the back or sides. It was about half an inch thick and I couldn’t see anywhere I could plug in my special StuffWeCanSell premium headphones! How the heck does this thing turn on?
The front erupted in bright white light. Finally! I could see a screen!
“initializing…please stand still and wait”, it read.
I froze, slightly bent over in a very awkward position. If the Expensive Universal Instrument had some new kind of accelerometer and needed to calibrate itself, I certainly did not want to screw it up! This was so cool! My back ached a little. Seconds ticked by.
After a minute, my stomach rumbled. I hadn’t eaten anything in a few hours. I tried to keep still.
The Expensive Universal Instrument beeped and vibrated in my hand at the same time.
“Initialization done. Commencing calibration. Would you like a sandwich?”
Wow! Did this thing pick up my stomach rumbling? Whatever kind of high tech mike they stuck in there was good! The last question beeped and repeated itself. I couldn’t see an obvious way to answer.
Beep! “Would you like a sandwich?”
Beep! “Please, proceed to make a sandwich that will satisfy you!”
The message blinked and three little dots appeared, a classic wait-state animation. I was glad to see something normal on this thing. It was so cool, but so weird! Now it wants me to make a sandwich?
I puzzled at it for a second and thumped it with finger. Carefully.
There was no response other than the three little dots.
Why the hell did it want me to make myself a sandwich?
When could I listen to some tunes? Watch movies? Flood Twitter with messages about how awesome the Expensive Universal Instrument is (Oh right! I shouldn’t do that!)? I really couldn’t wait to see what it could do. Why was it asking ME to do anything?
My stomach weighed in on the issue with another rumble. I gave up and turned to the fridge. I did not hope for much, since I hadn’t gone outside in a few days to get supplies. I imagined a nice mayo and baloney sandwich on white with baby spinach. I imagined it, but I had little chance I could make one.
Maybe I could make a decent PB & J and get on with it. I knew I had some whole wheat somewhere and if I scraped off the mold it should still be good.
I wondered why the Expensive Universal Instrument would suggest a sandwich? Why not some pasta, or chinese take-out or pizza. Pizza! Oh man!
I did some quick mental calculation and liked the result. My credit card should still be good. All I had to do was make a quick phone call and we were good to go!
I grabbed a handset on the counter and prepared to dial, my mouth watering the whole way.
No dial tone.
Rats. What a time for the phone to be out. Strange. I think I had paid my phone bill. It must be an outage. I hope I still have internet!
My stomach rumbled again, more urgently this time. Sandwich it is!
The Expensive Universal Instrument beeped, but the message on the screen remained unchanged. Reluctantly, I put the thing down and opened the fridge.
Uh. Color me surprised! Stunned even!
Nestled on the top shelf, just over the overdue milk and to the side of a year old container of wheatgerm (when did I get that?) was a neatly wrapped package of baloney. Underneath, next to the milk, lay a nice fresh looking loaf of Wonderbread and I could see in the crisper some green that did not look like mold or fungus.
What the hell? When did I get this?
I really could not remember getting this stuff. My fridge was always half full of past due junk food and dried up condiments. Buying food and forgetting it was there while ordering a ton of delivery pizza or chinese was pretty much my routine.
It was what I had done while waiting. Imagine missing out on the Expensive Universal Instrument because I had gone to the corner bodega or a big box Supermart or something! That’s insane! I had a bit of money to spare and I had spared no expense waiting for this!
I shook my head and turned back to the Expensive Universal Instrument. Forget the sandwich! I want to experience the awesomeness that this device is! I wanted to spend the next day or two cuddling it and playing with it so that I could revel in the multitudes of “I told you so” I could send to every friend that ignored my blog posts, my emails and my passionate arguments definitely establishing the sheer amazing life changing power of every StuffWeCanSell iDevices I owned!
Frowning, I thumped the screen a bit. I rubbed it. I felt around back. I could find no obvious controls.
The Expensive Universal Instrument beeped and showed the same message.
“Please proceed to make a sandwich that will satisfy you!”
The message was the same, but somehow I found it a bit pushy. I sighed deeply and my stomach growled dangerously.
Ok, maybe I should just make the damn sandwich. Maybe once I eat I can figure out how awesome the Expensive Universal Instrument is with a clear head.
I pulled out the bread, baloney and spinach. I hadn’t had a baloney sandwich in years. I hadn’t bought any wonderbread in at least six months. Weirdness.
I slathered the mayo and made sure I took off all the stems on the baby spinach. I put it all together and took a bite.
Mmmmmmm, nirvana. My stomach agreed and made happy sounds. At least, I imagined it made happy sounds. It certainly felt happy. When had I eaten last anyway?
I wolfed the sandwich down and on the last bite the Expensive Universal Instrument beeped and the message changed!
My heart beat a little quicker and I held my breath.
“Shall we listen to music, watch a movie or play a game?”
I hadn’t even transfered my extensive mp3 collection yet and it was asking me about music! This thing is amazing! I tried to push a button, rub a surface but nothing really did anything.
In the living room my iThing deluxe chimed. I had set the alarm for my favorite show, a tough and gritty crime drama that still made you laugh. I loved to watch it on my iThing. Well, I loved it until I got the Expensive Universal Instrument, which I’m sure will blow it out of the water.
If I could just figure out how to use the thing.
I walked over and I reached down and picked up the brown envelope off the floor, tucked it into my shirt. I had to read those sometime soon.
Beep! “Would you like to watch Bahamas PD?”
Oh wow! It must have picked up on the iThing’s settings! Makes sense, I figured, since it’s all from StuffWeCanSell Inc. They must have made it insanely compatible with every iThing and iMedia they put out right?
I whooped and headed for my favorite chair. I feel into the lazyboy with the Expensive Universal Instrument and fumbled around trying to find my headphones. With a grunt I realized I was sitting on them and pulled them out of my butt.
Beep! The Expensive Universal Instrument showed a new message.
With a buzz and a weird vibration in my hand I watched in amazement as the Expensive Universal Instrument grew! It grew! It stretched from just a bit bigger than the iThing deluxe (which, by the way, has a way better screen than the iThing 2. It just needs saying.)
I worked hard not to drop it. My hands were shaking a bit as it grew to the size of a book, then a small computer screen. It was still pretty light and comfortable to hold. How clever is this thing? Man, the engineering must be out of this world!
When it reached the size of a 17 inch screen the show started. What crisp colors! It had to be 720, maybe even 1080p!
Finally! I could do something with this and enjoy how cool this thing is! Wow. I prepared to lose myself in the show.
Bahamas PD began as it frequently did, on a sunny white sand beach filled with bikini babes and beach boys. I leaned back and sighed.
Man, I wish I could be there right now! I could easily imagine myself on a warm, sunny beach away from the February snows. Visions of sand and bikinis danced in my head. I knew I’d be so cool and popular on the beach, sitting there using the Expensive Universal Instrument! Man, everyone would look at me and want to check it out!
The Expensive Universal Instrument beeped. The screen blanked and it said:
The world exploded around me in an insanely bright flash of light.
I smelled ozone and I was blinded for a minute and engulfed in a cloying humid heat.
“Look out dude!”
A volleyball hit me on the head and I slammed into the sand. I swallowed a mouthful and choked for a minute.
“Sorry man, didn’t see you there” a voice said. Strong hands lifted me up.
I gave a weak smile to the tanned guy lifting me up.
“No problem. It happens”
Then it hit me.
I’m on the beach!
What. The. Hell?