Sketches in the Ruins of My Mind

graphic: Sketches in the Ruins of my Mind.

The Wizard of Austin

How to Compare Apples and Oranges
Only in Amerika

Dateline: 21 August 2005
Author: Johnny <>
Written, by me, in December 1998 and recently disinterred from the bowels of my email archives. The following epistle hails back to the time I worked for an American DotBomb company and recounts the epic tale of my first visit to company HQ in the Texas State capital Austin, USA. Originally an email to the company "trivia" list it seemed to offend and amuse in equal measure. Undoubtedly it has much more resonance for those who were there, especially me, but some idea of what I was working on can perhaps be gleaned by reviewing the US Patent Office application; the heavily armed men were DEA who had offices in the same building, and so on. For the latest stylings of the Wizard's dark magicks check out and The Riskman.
The horror, the horror…

En route to the fabled city of Lost Wages I stopped off to see the Wizard of Austin. I hoped the Wizard could enlighten me as to the meaning of life, the universe, and how to cheat at cards. I wasn't disappointed.

First I drove anti-clockwise for two hours around the nightmare intersections of the mysterious Highway 51, where the traffic never ceases to flow but never gets anywhere. Luckily super premium unleaded for the Lexus was only a dollar a gallon. I approached the fabulous Twin Towers of glass and adamantine steel that housed the Wizard, yes, with not a little trepidation: would the Wizard be pleased to see me? Heavily armed men wearing cromex sun glasses patrolled the parking lot. This soothed me.

Inside, the Wizard's minions dazzled me with strange gifts - bizarre confectionery called "collages" which seemed suspiciously nutritious in comparison to my usual fare. They slaughtered large quantities of defenseless vegetarian animals and we feasted mightily on the still warm and quivering flesh. My attitude was readjusted, in return I bestowed the secrets of Spline and Wreck. Mind you, all that polished pink granite was, well, a bit questionable I thought.

But, what the hell, nobody lives forever. I asked the Wizard:

"What of your Wisdom, oh great Wizard of the West, how can I measure stuff?"

He replied:

"What have you bought me?"

I proffered the apple and the orange:

"I had a hell of trouble getting these past customs, and I thought Texas was full of fruits."

The Wizard smiled his supercilious smile and gestured imperiously. A voluptuous blonde assistant stepped forward holding a device of fantastic and baroque complexity, so intricate I could not make out its shape. In fact looking at it hard gave me a headache. I stared at the blonde instead. The Wizard spoke again:

"I have the very thing. My Tachyon Injection Tomography machine will measure the circumference of these spheres at 20,000 separate points on planes of intersection of the sphere at only five nano-degrees separation: the data will be automatically synchronised to my super-powerful [expletives deleted to protect the delicate Muffin] file server and instantly transformed by ultra-sophisticated-state-of-the-art statistical algorithms into a dynamic animated representation of exactly the difference between them - to ten decimal places, of course."

The strange machine hummed and glowed, the lights in the building flickered until finally, screens around the room lit up with strange dancing shapes in all the colours of the rainbow. We stared closely. It was all geek to me. The Wizard looked pleased, and said:

"See, they're both exactly as circular as each other."

Gretchen came in with Pego on a leash.

"Pego, I don't think we're in Boston any more."
"Woof!" said Pego, who is after all barking mad.