A little brain teaser

Tonight I had to enter a password. I carefully typed a series of keys, and got a message that my password was incorrect. I changed nothing, pressed no button, did not move the mouse, or alter the state of my computer in any way. I typed exactly the same series of keys again – same keys, same order, doing nothing differently, and this time was allowed in.

How can that be?

Home is where the water’s hot

About a week ago Pan Ptaček brought a guy up to see about fixing my hot water situation. It was kind of out of the blue—after all, I’ve been living here more than two months. There was a polite knock on the door and I opened it to find my landlord and his handyman. The guy looked and sure enough the hot and cold hoses seemed to be reversed. he swapped them and while things worked better over all, there was still no hot water. He told Mr. Ptaček that a new water heater was required.

I wasn’t so sure. It seemed to me like the valve between the sink and the heater wasn’t right. I tried to explain my opinion with no success whatsoever. My landlord grimaced at the expense of a new heater, and understood not at all when I told him I thought he was wasting his money.

At the same time, I knew the valve assembly was probably designed for exactly that purpose. Still, the way it worked just made no sense.

Tonight I came home to find in the cabinet over the sink a new heater unit. Bigger, badder, and with an energy efficiency label that showed a rating of very bad, but not the worst. I looked at it hanging there, then turned and walked away. Sooner or later I would have to turn the hot water tap and find out where I stood. I puttered about, stalling, but before long I was back at the sink. I took a breath and twisted the hot water tap.

The water came out clear and cold, and never warmed up. I closed the valve. The hot water valve. You know, the one on the left, the one colored red. The friggin knob that everyone in the civilized world would assume is the hot water. You know where this story is heading. The right-left cold-hot thing is not a strong tendency here, but the blue-red thing is usually reliable. Not in my house. But the difference between now and yesterday is huge. Before I had two ways to get cold water in the kitchen sink. Now I have variety, and no excuse to put off doing the dishes.

My head is in a really neat place

I’m in a bar with free Internet access. I don’t know what I’m paying for beers right now and I don’t want to know. It’s not important. If only the %(^%*&^$ at the next table would stop smoking I’d be a happy, happy man.

[moved to a different table next to an outlet]

But here I am. Connected. On the air. Reaching out to my media empire, which yearns for me. Or something.

There are even pretty girls here, but at this moment every single one of them that I can see from where I sit is smoking. This is becoming increasingly irritating as I live down the remains of a head cold. There’s good ventilation here, but it only goes so far. Another very attractive woman just came in, and stopped at the bar for an ashtray on the way to her table.

The other day fuego, MaK, and I were in a restaurant for a late brunch, and we had a most pleasant time. On the way out we paused to speak to a friend of fuego’s and I was introduced. It came out that I was learning czech, and the friend said, “He needs a czech girlfriend, then,” or something like that. My response was “No, that would be too much work,” but nobody was paying any attention to me. But it goes beyond the simple fact I don’t need another project (and having a girlfriend is work — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise). On top of that, every girl here smokes.

Two more women just arrived and sat at the table just upwind of me. The bartender recognized them and brought over an ashtray. In my field of vision right now, there are nine women and no men except the bartenders. Damn near paradise, if my sinuses weren’t cowering behind my occipital lobe for shelter.

All right. enough bitching about the smoke. This is Europe, after all, and except for Slovakia it’s a smoky place. I knew that when I signed up. I’m told that Europe is following California’s lead and will be banning smoking in public places, leaving my heart divided. I dislike banning things, and I consistently vote against banning things, even smoking in public, but I sure do like life better when no one is puffing up nearby.

All right. NOW there’s been enough bitching about the smoke. I will not bitch about it any more. I will squint my eyes and try to see what I am writing though the haze and write about something besides the smoke. After all, this episode is all about how great it is to be here.

Here, in fact, is a mall. Glossy, glitzy, and modern, there is no czech character here. I first went to a cafe nearby where I was told they had free internet. A lie. A BIG, FAT, LIE. (Ano, ještÄ› jedno, prosím.) I had a feeling about this place though. [There is now a male patron in my field of vision, and his girlfriend just lit up. D’oh! bitching again!] Outside in the mall proper an authoritative voice just came booming through the PA system. I have no idea what he said, and it couldn’t have been too important because everyone else ignored it, too. But whoever was speaking certainly felt important.

“Blah, blah, blablablah, Blah.” It’s the same in any language.

I think that’s where I’ll leave this episode, which also can be summarized as “Blah, blah, blablablah, Blah.”



I’ve had a cold the last few days, and while it hasn’t been that bad, it seems to have completely obliterated all creative spark. So there’s not much to say today, either. Ironically, the programming has been going very well—I’ve made big strides on the next release of Jer’s novel writer in the last few days.

I am feeling better, so maybe I’ll come up with something tonight worth posting.