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Scylla 02-04-2003 11:49 PM

The horror of blimps
 
Last week while travelling I stopped at a Zany Brainy store and saw that they had a blimp for sale. It's called Airship Earth, and it's a great big balloon with a map of the Earth on it, and two propellors hanging from the bottom. You blow up the balloon with helium put batteries in it, and you have a radio controll indoor blimp.

I'd seen these things for sale in Sharper Image catalogs for $60-$75. At Zany Brainy it was on clearance for $15. What a deal!

Last night my wife was playing tennis and it was just my daughter and I at home. I bought a small helium tank from a party store, and last night we put the blimp together.

Let me tell you, it's quite a blimp. It's huge. The balloon has like a 3 ft diameter.

We blew it up with the tank attacched the gondola with the propellors, and put in batteries.

Then we balanced the blimp for neutral bouyancy with this putty that came with it, so it hangs in the air by itself neither rising nor falling.

It was easy and fun, and then I blew up another balloon and made Mickey Mouse helium voices for my daughter.

My three year old girl loved it. We flew the blimp all over the house, terrorized the dog, attacked the fish tank, and the controls were so easy my daughter could fly.

Let's face it, blimps are fun.

Alas, the fun had to end and my daughter had to go to sleep. I left the blimp floating in my office downstairs, my wife came home, and we went to bed, and slept the sleep of the righteous.

At this point it is important to know that my house has central heating. I have it configured to blow hot air out on the ground floor and take it in at the second floor to take advantage of the fact that heat rises.

The blimp which was up until this moment a fun toy here embarked on a career of evil. Using the artificial convection of my central heating, the blimp stealthily departed my office. It moved silently through the living and drifted to the staircase. Gliding wraithlike over the staircase it then entered the bedroom where my wife and I lay sleeping peacefully.

Running silently, and gliding six feet or so above the ground on invisible and tiny air currects it approached the bed.

In spite of it's noiseless passage, or perhaps because of it, I awoke. That doesn't really say it properly. Let me try again.

I awoke, the way you awake at 2:00 AM when your sleeping senses suddenly tell you without reason that the forces of evil on converging on you.

That still doesn't do it. Let me try one more time.

I awoke the way you awake when you suddenly know that there is a large levitating sinister presence hovering towards you with menacing intent through the maligant darkness.

Now sometimes I do wake up in the middle of the night thinking that there are large sinister and menacing things floating out of the darkness to do me and mine evil. Usually I open my eyes, look and listen carefully, decide it was a false alarm, and go back to sleep.

So, the fact that I awoke in such a manner was not all that unusual.

On this occasion I awoke to the sense that there was a large menacing presence approaching me silently out of the gloom, so I opened my eyes, and there it was! A LARGE SILENT MENACING PRESENCE WAS APPROACHING ME OUT OF THE GLOOM, AND IT COULD FLY!!!

Somewhere in the control room of my mind a fat little dwarf in a security outfit was paging through a Penthouse while smoking a cigar with his feet up on the table, watching the security monitors of my brain with his peripheral vision. Suddenly he saw the LARGE SILENT SINSITER MENACING FLOATING PRESENCE coming at me, and he pulled every panic switch and hit every alarm that my body has. A full decade's allotment of adrenaline was dumped into my bloodstream all at once. My metabolism went from "restful sleep mode" to HOLY SHIT! FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE OR DIE!!!! mode" in a nanosecond. My heart went from twenty something beats per minute to about 240 even faster.

I always knew this was going to happen. I always knew that skepticism and science were mere psychological decorations and vanities. Deep in our alligator brains we all know that the world is just chock full of evil and monsters and sinister forces aligned against us, and it is only a matter of time until they show up. Evolution know this, too. It knows what to do when the silent terror comes at you from out of the dark.

When 50 million years worth of evolutionary survival instinct hits you all at once flat in the gut at 200 mph it is not a pleasant sensation.

Without volition I screamed my battle cry (which is indistinguishable to the sound a little girl makes when you drop a spider down her dress (not that I'd know what that sounds like,) and lept out of bed in my underwear.

I struck the approaching menace with all my strength and almost fell over at the total lack of resistance that a helium balloon offers when you punch the living shit out of it with all the stength that sudden middle of the night terror produces.

It's trajectory took it straight into the ceiling fan which whipped it about the room at terrifying velocity.

Seeking a weapon, I ripped the alarm clock out of its plug and hurled it at the now High Velocity Menacing presence (breaking the clock and putting a nice hole in the wall.)

Somehow at this moment I suddenly realized that I was fighting the blimp, and not a monster. It might have been funny if I didn't truly and actually feel like I was having a legitimate heart-attack.

On quivering legs I went to the bathroom and literally gagged into the toilet while shaking uncontrollably with the shock of the reaction I'd had.

Unbeleivably, both my wife and daughter had completely slept through the incident. When I decided that I wasn't having a heart attack after all I went back into the bedroom and found the blimp which had somehow survived the incident.

I took it to the walk in closet and released it inside where it floated around with the air currents released from the vents in there. I closed the door, this sealing it in, and went back to bed. About 500 years later I fell asleep.


***

At about 7 am my wife awoke. She had been playing tennis and wasn't aware that we have assembled the blimp the previous evening, and that is was now floating around the the walk-in closet that she approached.

The dyndamic between the existing air currents of the closet and the suction caused by opening the door was just enough to give the blimp the appearance of an Evil Sinister Menace flying straight towards her.

This time the blimp did not survive the encounter, nor almost, did I, as I had to explain to my very angry spouse what motivated me to hide an evil lurking presence in the closet for her to find at 7 am.

I can order replacement balloons on the internet but I don't think I will.

Some blimps are better off dead.

Gary Kumquat 02-04-2003 11:59 PM

It's 4.50m in the UK. The reader awakes for his usual 5am conference call with programmers in his asian office. To kill 10 minutes he fires up his internet browser, pops into the SDMB, and looks for some light entertainment. He finds Scylla's thread.

And 5 minutes later he must calm a rudely awakened wife ("I thought you were having a nervous breakdown, laughing like that at this time of day") and pray that the laughter will subside before his staff decide he's lost it.

AncientHumanoid 02-05-2003 12:13 AM

Wheeee!

Scylla 02-05-2003 12:15 AM

One must always be on guard against things that go blimp in the night.

MonkeyMensch 02-05-2003 12:15 AM

Damn, Scylla, you can write. Dave Barry's in trouble if you ever get syndicated...

malden 02-05-2003 12:18 AM

OH, THE HUMANITY!

well, somebody had to say it

Troy McClure SF 02-05-2003 12:25 AM

Hee hee.

malden 02-05-2003 12:27 AM

Nothing against dwarves, but this:

Quote:

Somewhere in the control room of my mind a fat little dwarf in a security outfit was paging through a Penthouse while smoking a cigar with his feet up on the table, watching the security monitors of my brain with his peripheral vision.
...is the funniest thing I've read on this board in a long time. :D

ElwoodCuse 02-05-2003 12:39 AM

The visuals this story generates are simply amazing. Freaking solid effort.

War Scylla!

CanvasShoes 02-05-2003 12:55 AM

OMG!!! GMFHO (giggling my fool head off).

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

I so needed a good laugh (I'm sorry it was at your expense though).

May I copy and share this? What an EXQUISITE piece of writing!!!

Sock Munkey 02-05-2003 01:04 AM

That is seriously funny, truly I think its publish-worthy.

Cerowyn 02-05-2003 01:07 AM

I have to repeat my observation of earlier posts of yours: BRAVO! :)

Incubus 02-05-2003 01:53 AM

You know, I had a reaction like this recently. I had a sleeping bag that I had lazily left in my bedroom floor. One night, I slowly awoke, sensing some sort of unseen danger. I saw a heap on the carpet and instincts told me I had to terminate this object with extreme prejudice for fear of being gobbled up.

With a shriek I leapt out of my bed and pounced on the sleeping bag, and started pummeling it and wrestling it. The zipper rasped against my neck and I was CERTAIN this was some viscious animal trying to kill me. I was screaming and crashing around in my room, knocking all sorts of stuff over and making a very loud racket.

Suddenly the light comes on. Its my mom, who I woke from all the noise. I'm frozen in place, halfway ripping the fabric of the sleeping bag open with my mouth. There is down everywhere in the room. My mom asks "What the hell are you doing? its 2 AM!" The only words that could come out of my mouth at the time were "The sleeping bag tried to eat me"

Then my mom gave me the same look I swear I saw a hamster give right before it ate 3 of its babies :eek:

Robot Arm 02-05-2003 02:18 AM

Air currents my ass; your dog flew that blimp into your bedroom to get his revenge.




Good boy!

LadyMack 02-05-2003 02:32 AM

...cuts eyes towards Spouse, and gives him THE look..

No. Not in a million years. Not happening. Forget it.

GusNSpot 02-05-2003 02:36 AM

Scylla, and Incubus, you guys have killed me.

The best.

Bob Scene 02-05-2003 03:00 AM

Weird. Until now I never realized just how much I need a radio-controlled indoor blimp.

glarGH 02-05-2003 03:03 AM

WAHAHHAHAHAHAAHHAAA!!

this is the best! Choco-milk nearly shot out my nose! oh my lord!!

Michael Ellis 02-05-2003 03:25 AM

[fawning child]

Scylla, can I be you when I grow up?

[/fawning child]

TwistofFate 02-05-2003 06:55 AM

The dog? nah, it was an Evil Nazi Groundghog!

Steve Wright 02-05-2003 07:24 AM

Me: (incompletely choked-off hysterical laughter)

My Boss: What's so funny about the malfunctioning BizTalk Server, Steve?

Me: (long pause) .... err ... I was just amused by the implementation of the reliable messaging interface ... (gathers speed) I mean, how can they call it reliable, when they allow receipt messages to build up indefinitely in the suspended queue, and -

My Boss: (loses interest and wanders off)

So there we are. Not just a wonderful OP, but also a golden opportunity for me to practice my bullshitting skills. Keep 'em coming, Scylla!

Woeg 02-05-2003 07:36 AM

I seriously have tears rolling down my face from laughing so hard. Thanks, Scylla!

Waverly 02-05-2003 08:40 AM

Dread Zeppelin

Spectre of Pithecanthropus 02-05-2003 09:31 AM

God that sounds cool. I want one myself, and I'm MUCH older than your three-year-old daughter.

SirRay 02-05-2003 09:33 AM

Next time, don't skimp - make sure to get the Lifelike high impact plastic scale mooring mast too.

lieu 02-05-2003 09:37 AM

The ease in which your wife dispatched the floating twinkie was due no doubt in large part to your previous heroic efforts.



Mebbe if you built a large floating badger...

bernse 02-05-2003 09:45 AM

<bernse grabs scoring placards>

10

Audience goes wild!


Great story. I'm glad I was alone in the office when I read it!

Munch 02-05-2003 09:46 AM

I don't know, malden. I think the bit about the alligator brain is what did it for me. To recap:

Quote:

Deep in our alligator brains we all know that the world is just chock full of evil and monsters and sinister forces aligned against us, and it is only a matter of time until they show up. Evolution know this, too. It knows what to do when the silent terror comes at you from out of the dark.
So Scylla, how did your wife wake up in time without a functioning alarm clock?

Madame Zelda 02-05-2003 09:55 AM

Quote:

It's called Airship Earth, and it's a great big balloon with a map of the Earth on it, and two propellors hanging from the bottom.
Envision how much more terrifying if it had been a mock-up of the Shamu blimp!

TV News Anchor: Last night a local man was terrorized by a miniature killer whale while sleeping in his home at 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
Anchor #2: A what ???

You really should consider submitting this OP to publications that actually pay for this type of creativity. Rock On!! :p

hawthorne 02-05-2003 09:57 AM

10 from me too
 
Quote:

Blimpy-boy
... as I had to explain to my very angry spouse
Angry and, it would seem, extremely dangerous.

That going from pleasant snooze to fully awake with hackles raised thing's exhausting too isn't it? Our bed struts broke in the middle of the other night and although I got back to sleep I was a wreck the next day.

CanvasShoes 02-05-2003 10:09 AM

Plus! I now know what I'm going to get the BF for his late birthday present!

(ps, we have that hot water baseboard heat).

Althoughhhhhh, we DO have a rather psychotic aussie too............

Ferret Herder 02-05-2003 10:12 AM

Re: 10 from me too
 
Quote:

Originally posted by hawthorne
Angry and, it would seem, extremely dangerous.
That's why he calls her the Angel of Death, and as an affectionate term, even.

Glad to hear it was just a false alarm at least; the last time I got woken out of sleep by a full emergency metabolic alert, the apartment immediately next to mine was ablaze.

I'm just glad I read this story before anyone else in my office came in - data collection isn't typically a cause to nearly spray one's computer monitor with tea. :D

Sejal_Traurig 02-05-2003 10:33 AM

At risk of being accused of hyperbole, I laughed till tears were streaming down my face, and then I laughed some more. Publish this! Dave Barry will be quake in fear at the coming of a wit fit to challenge his own.

Sauron 02-05-2003 10:56 AM

Truly a work of art, Scylla. Not that I wish ill upon you, but I really enjoy it when the normal fabric of your life comes unraveled just a bit. It makes for great reading.

Exgineer 02-05-2003 11:03 AM

Just plain brilliant.

How do you nominate something for Teemings Extras? E-mail Euty?

Blackclaw 02-05-2003 11:10 AM

That was hilarious! It is quite clear we need more such tales. Let's all pitch in and buy the Scylla household several more blimps. Are there any ninja dopers who live near Scylla and are willing to sneak them in for us?

Mighty_Girl 02-05-2003 11:32 AM

Scylla, we already have an Emperor of the World, the only things available are World's Court Jester and Minister of Satire... your pick.

That was awesome dude. Awesome.

Polycarp 02-05-2003 11:53 AM

Is there a market here for a monthly magazine that includes one of Fenris's spot-on parodies, a Scylla here's-my-life-retold-in-hysterically-funny-prose story, an Eve things-you-didn't-know-about-the-movies-you-watch column, and a few other such things, with Jonathan Chance's marketing expertise making it financially sound?

I'm quite serious -- the talent on this board would make millions, if it were properly marketed!

Dogzilla 02-05-2003 12:17 PM

Quote:

Is there a market here for a monthly magazine that includes one of Fenris's spot-on parodies, a Scylla here's-my-life-retold-in-hysterically-funny-prose story, an Eve things-you-didn't-know-about-the-movies-you-watch column, and a few other such things, with Jonathan Chance's marketing expertise making it financially sound?
Yeah, it was called Teemings and Euty killed it.

Marconi & Schmeese 02-05-2003 12:36 PM

Here it is: THE EVIL BLIMP!

I think my husband may need one of these for his birthday. . . :D

ultrafilter 02-05-2003 01:08 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Exgineer
Just plain brilliant.

How do you nominate something for Teemings Extras? E-mail Euty?

Yep, that's the way.

Sejal_Traurig 02-05-2003 01:39 PM

Marconi & Schmeese I'm not sure which is more evil.. The blimp.. Or the fact that you linked it here.. Let us all watch as the SDMB readership brings the Zany Brainy website to its knees...

And for the record, the OP has not failed to make me laugh out loud, even on the third and fourth complete read-throughs.. Scylla, I salute you..

Marconi & Schmeese 02-05-2003 01:44 PM

Quote:

I'm not sure which is more evil.. The blimp.. Or the fact that you linked it here.. Let us all watch as the SDMB readership brings the Zany Brainy website to its knees...
They're already going out of business (don't tell me they and the Right Start/FAO empire aren't - most of my manufacturers stopped shipping to them back in SEPTEMBER of 2002 - well before any announcements) - I'm just trying to help them get rid of their blimps. :p

Toaster52 02-05-2003 04:30 PM

Good heavens, what a wonder that was!! Truly a masterpiece that is a prime example of why I frequent this board!











.....I have so much to learn.............

Alto 02-05-2003 04:58 PM

Hey Scylla, write me a book! Really, I mean it. You could probably write the world's funniest children's book, and just think how much your daughter would love it.

Alto (the children's book editor)

singular1 02-05-2003 04:59 PM

I thank you, Scylla, for a good laugh and the perfect Valentines Day gift!

Moirai 02-05-2003 05:05 PM

Scylla, as usual, you destroy.

Absolutely brilliant. As Always.

Eutychus 02-05-2003 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Dogzilla
Yeah, it was called Teemings and Euty killed it.
It's not dead yet, we're just on hiatus. Stay tuned.

vibrotronica 02-05-2003 07:27 PM

[Captain Beefheart]

The Blimp! The Blimp!

[/Captain Beefheart]

Eutychus 02-05-2003 07:39 PM

Scylla had previously given me carte blanche to use whatever he posted at TE, so it's there.


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