William Matheson's Journal
Mar. 11th, 2018
I'm interested in airlines and airliners, but I find it so hard to keep track of what's what. Automobiles are sometimes easier: Mercedes' main line goes A, B, C, E, S (but good luck figuring out all the three-letter cars), Ford's F-series is straightforward from 150 to 350 (450 only gets you better towing, and beyond that you're pretty much out of the pickup realm), and BMW and Lexus used to have schemes that made sense. And remember when Windows releases were branded with their version numbers*? Everyone could understand HugeChangesThatBreakHalfYourApps.Signifi
Anyway, I am hoping that this will help me, and help you, keep mental track of the mainstream airliner families of the two biggest manufacturers: Boeing and Airbus.
Lefter shorter, righter longer (comparing the longest variants). Some of these they don't make anymore, but you might still see them in the wild.
717**, 737, A321***, 757
A310, A300, 767, A330, 787, A350, 777
Dual-Aisle, Four-Engine, Single-Deck
Dual-Aisle, Four-Engine, Double-Deck
* - Well, they sort of do so now, but they got there by skipping 7, 8, and 9. Vista through 8.1 were version 6.x Windows.
** - Formerly the MD-95.
*** - The A318 through A321 are known as the A320 family. As you might expect, the A318s are the shortest and the A321s are the longest.
**** - The A380 has much greater interior volume than the 747, as its upper deck extends the whole length of the aircraft.
Dec. 23rd, 2016
05:02 pm - Review: Rogue One and the Movies
Last night I went to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with some good friends from high school. Before I get excessively vituperous, let me say that experiences are always better with friends and I'm glad we had the outing we did. That being said, it may be a very long time before I go to the cinema again, if things continue the way they are going. Rogue One may be my last movie seen in a theatre.
As far as the film itself goes, I'm glad I've seen this movie. Some of the emotional moments stick with you afterwards. I think it hit a lot of right notes.
But I was also bored with the story for most of it and there's so many shooting sprees and so much action that you become numb to it. Most movies today are like this, they pump in as much gee whiz as they possibly can, and while the gee whiz is something, it's like going to a meal where all they serve you is cotton candy. You can only take so much. Or, put another way, there isn't enough kablooie in the world to make you get the same wow that you used to, back when effects were expensive. They also tend to play it safe by making mostly sequels and reboots, and if it's not one of those, they'll just get Tom Cruise.
As I write this, I'm imagining the Imperial Probe Droid from Empire Strikes Back. Terrific effect for 1980; a meanacing, floating piece of techno terror. And they got a whole bunch of scenes out of it, and it was an important plot point. But now there's no real scarcity in special effects, and I can't imagine any of today's producers having the same kind of patience and restraint to make such scenes.
Inasmuch as Rogue One is a 2010s mainstream movie, it's amazing it touches my heart at all. When I finally started to care about the characters, it was pretty good. But the early parts were random and disjointed and could have used a few more rewrites.
And some parts are just downright sloppy and ridiculous. For instance, at one point there is a Star Destroyer just parked above a city. Really, just hanging in mid-air, with no apparent means of support. Even if there were some amazing antigrav tech at work, if it fails you lose a capital ship and all the forces you had deployed in the city below. And it had nothing much to do with the plot, except to signal to the viewer that the Imperial Forces were there. There are much more satisfying and plausible ways to signal that.
The writing was also lazy, or at least not adequately vetted by people who know the existing Star Wars canon. Little things will drive you crazy. One example is how people in the Alliance will refer to it as the "Rebel Alliance" even in formal situations. If you go back and watch the original films, you'll see they are more often than not the "Alliance", not "Rebel Alliance" and definitely not "Rebels". And of course, the Imperial people will almost always say "Rebels" or "Rebellion" and very seldom say "Alliance". In the sources I read it was officially named "The Alliance to Restore the Republic", although this is never spoken in the films.
So it's not the "Rebel Alliance Headquarters", it's "Alliance Headquarters". And if you're commanding the Alliance Fleet, you're "Admiral Fisheye of the Alliance Fleet". (Also, while you may well have a radio handy, are you the officer on listening watch picking up random new signals? Where's your Uhura equivalent?)
And then there's the matter of integrating the story with the original Star Wars of 1977. Great movie, but "A New Hope" is a lousy title and that title was nowhere to be seen on the original release. So of course they find a way to call attention to that lousy title instead of leaving well enough alone. But I digress.
It should be noted that they lift a great deal of clips from that first movie and even recreate a few of the actors with Spirits Within-style CGI. That in itself is not necessarily offensive, but they do it sometimes when it's not crucial to the plot and in those cases it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Some characters were needed more than others. I'd argue you could make this movie without bringing back any of the characters besides perhaps one or two Alliance leaders. No need to bring back any of the household names. It's so obvious that they're just doing it because they can and so that people will be like, "Oh wow, there's so-and-so!"
More problematically, the plot integration with the 1977 movie is not smooth. I predict Disney retconning the early scenes in some future release to make them fit with Rogue One, but why couldn't they have just told a story that fit with what was already there? Especially when you could have told a good story? There are enough pieces here that with a bit of trimming and reworking, you could have a very good movie.
If you want to know, the biggest problem with what they did do is that Vader actually sees the Corvette carrying Princess Leia leave the system from which the Death Star plans were obtained. This completely trashes the opening above Tattooine. Not only was there apparently no faux diplomatic mission upon which they intercepted the plans, but why would Vader even deign to debunk their cover story? He would only need to say the equivalent of "I saw you!" but in a Vader way. (Incidentally, the dialogue for Vader in Rogue One is sub-par. He would have been better if left out but still mentioned by other Imperials.)
Basically, the whole feeling of the start of ANH is that of the plans being intercepted in a low-key way from spies working in secret while the ship is employed in a diplomatic mission plausible enough that they had hopes of keeping the Imperial Navy off their backs. The ending of Rogue One is anything but low-key. They could have written a character-driven 007-in-space kind of film to fit the existing canon, but they did not.
And now let's move on to Cineplex, which is apparently in the business of making waiting for Netflix the most appealing way to see a movie. Not only do you pay $18 for the privilege of enduring a three dee eye max presentation with glasses that hurt your nose and the volume up loud enough that you need earplugs, but you are bombarded with advertising and trailers for 23 minutes. The advertising isn't even particularly good - it's the same stuff you see on TV, but blown up or belaboured to the point of viewer discomfort. And then there's some stuff that's downright despicable - universities selling higher education as a consumer product, for one. And there's worse than that.
I don't need to see Sex Panic agitprop every time I go to see a movie. This time around there was a self-appointed male feminist bullying someone who made a lewd comment underneath a gal's swimsuit photo and he demanded the commenter delete the post before she sees it, lest her head explode. Then he called the commenter a name (related to his race, no less!) and huffed off.
Remember kids, bullying is cool if you're the outraged left. Also, risqué comments are like a handgrenade to a girl's fragile little self. Of course she had no idea what she was doing sharing such photos among her e-quaintances, and of course she should be shielded from any possible consequences. And what that commenter was doing was Sexual Violence, or at least very far along the slippery slope, because this message was brought to you by People Against Sexual Violence. I am against sexual violence too, but these people are crying wolf, and I will not be returning to the theatre to be subjected to their propaganda.
Dec. 31st, 2015
06:56 pm - NFL Week 17 Guide
|Time (ET)||Canadian-accessible Carrier||Away||(Record)||Home||(Record)||At Stake|
|1 pm||none||Jaguars||5-10||Texans||8-7||Texans win guarantees AFC South title but they are virtually certain to get it anyway|
|1 pm||(available on CBS Cleveland)||Steelers||9-6||Browns||3-12||Steelers can get wild card spot with win and Jets concurrent loss|
|1 pm||RDS, CTV Ontario, Winnipeg, Alberta, BC, CKPR, CHEX, CKWS, CITL (also CBS Buffalo, Detroit, and all along the border in Western Canada)||Jets||10-5||Bills||7-8||Jets win guarantees wild card spot; Bills QB Tyrod Taylor gets $1M bonus with a few snaps; Bills coach Rex Ryan formerly coach of Jets, would be motivated to knock Jets out of playoffs|
|1 pm||CTV Montreal, Atlantic (also CBS Boston)||Patriots||12-3||Dolphins||5-10||Patriots win guarantees AFC #1 seed; Patriots QB Tom Brady needs 364 passing yards to reach 5,000 this year|
|1 pm||none||Titans||3-12||Colts||7-8||Titans loss ensures #1 pick; Colts can theoretically get AFC South with a win and a whole bunch of upsets the same day|
|1 pm||TSN 2, CTV Saskatchewan (also Fox Boston, Cleveland)||Ravens||5-10||Bengals||11-4||Bengals can get first-round bye if they win and Broncos lose in the late game|
|1 pm||(available on Fox Seattle, Spokane, etc..)||Redskins||8-7||Cowboys||4-11||Not much; whether or not Redskins go to playoffs with winning record|
|1 pm||none||Saints||6-9||Falcons||8-7||Nothing. Two non-playoff teams.|
|1 pm||(available on Fox Detroit, Duluth, etc..)||Lions||6-9||Bears||6-9||Nothing. Two non-playoff teams.|
|1 pm||(available on Fox Buffalo, Rochester, etc..)||Eagles||6-9||Giants||6-9||Nothing. Two non-playoff teams. (Pat Shurmur interim head coach for Eagles. Also, the loser of this game will play the Rams in London next season, by dint of being 3rd place in the NFC East.)|
|5:25 pm||none||Rams||7-8||49ers||4-11||Nothing. Two non-playoff teams.|
|5:25 pm||none||Buccaneers||6-9||Panthers||14-1||Panthers win guarantees NFC #1 seed|
|5:25 pm||TSN 2 (also Fox Cleveland)||Raiders||7-8||Chiefs||10-5||Chiefs can win AFC West title with win and Broncos concurrent loss|
|5:25 pm||CTV Ontario, Montreal, Atlantic, CKPR, CHEX, CKWS (also all transborder CBS stations)||Chargers||4-11||Broncos||11-4||Broncos win guarantees AFC West division title and first-round bye, even AFC #1 seed if Patriots lose early game; Will Peyton Manning play?|
|5:25 pm||RDS, CTV BC, Alberta, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, CITL (also Fox Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, and along the border in Western Canada)||Seahawks||9-6||Cardinals||13-2||Cardinals can steal NFC #1 seed with win and Panthers loss; Seahawks can get higher wild card seed with win and Vikings loss in night game|
|9:30 pm||TSN 1,4,5, RDS (also all NBC stations)||Vikings||10-5||Packers||10-5||NFC North division title (home playoff game), loser in playoffs as a wild card; Vikings RB Adrian Peterson likely to win rushing title, currently leads by 310 yards|
|Clinched playoff, hoping to improve seeding|
|Clinched playoff, nothing to play for|
|In hunt for playoffs|
|Out of playoffs|
Oct. 15th, 2015
Poll opening and closing times are determined by time zone.
Elections Canada: "Voting Hours Across Canada"
Elections Canada's table is in local time for each zone, but my table below translates the times to every other zone. For example, to find the relative opening and closing times of a poll in Toronto, Ontario, which is in the Eastern Time Zone, look along the third row from left to right - that Toronto poll closes at 9:30pm local time (highlighted in bold), which is equivalent to 6:30pm Pacific (looking left) or 11:00pm Newfoundland Time (looking right).
The last polls to close are those in the Pacific Time zone. For this election, it's mostly a matter of curiosity as to when the first results will trickle in, but last time a ban existed on publicly disseminating the results before the last polls closed. It was widely flouted and the law was changed.
The purpose of this chart last time was to show people when, in their local time zone, it would be legal to publicly disseminate the results. The purpose this time is to encourage people to vote even though the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at the Rogers Centre and millions of people will want to be watching. The game will start around 8pm Eastern.
The Globe and Mail: "A very Canadian predicament: Vote or watch the Jays?"
Two important things to note from that article:
- "Every Canadian employer is required by law to give employees three consecutive hours to vote without loss of pay, or face a maximum penalty of a $2,000 fine and three months in jail. There are some exemptions for transportation-industry employers, and ultimately the timing of when workers are permitted to vote is up to the employer."
- "Listening to the game on radio or watching the baseball game by logging in to a cable subscription via smartphone would seem like a reasonable option while waiting to vote, except Elections Canada has clear rules on the use of electronic devices in polling stations. Smartphones are allowed only if used for retrieving and showing an electronic bill or invoice that proves one’s address and identity. There are also provisions for voters with disabilities to use a smartphone to read their ballot. Following the game on social media – or watching it live – are not among the permitted smartphone uses outlined by Elections Canada."
Anyway, if you're curious you can use my chart to find the opening and closing times of polls across the country in terms of your local time: if you live in Toronto, look up and down the sixth column to see that Newfoundland Time Zone polls close at 7:00pm your time, your polls close at 9:30pm your time (highlighted in bold), and the Pacific Time Zone polls close at 10:00pm your time.
As you can see, this is also the chart for opening times - simply read "am" where "pm". Most of Saskatchewan does not observe Daylight Time, which is currently in effect elsewhere. I could have titled the other columns "... Daylight", but that would have confused even more people. In the few cases where a riding spans more than one time zone (e.g. Nunavut), a common closing time is determined in advance. Results begin to be tabulated immediately after the polls for the riding have closed. For more information, consult the Elections Canada website.
Finally, get out and vote! And Let's Go Blue Jays!
|Zone of Poll||Pacific||Mountain||Central Standard (SK)||Central||Eastern||Atlantic||Newfoundland|
|Central Standard (SK)||6:30||7:30||7:30||8:30||9:30||10:30||11:00|
|Hours of concurrency||2||1.5||1.5||1.5||1.5||0||0|
Here is a visualization of the staggered polling hours, in terms of Eastern Time:
Mar. 24th, 2015
12:07 pm - How to cold call employers
Have been cold calling not-entirely-impossible potential employers. It is a bit tense, but there have been numerous kind and reasonable people on the other end of the line.
Here are some opening lines that I used. Feel free to adapt them to your own needs. You can just fill in the blanks.
"Hi my name is ___ I'm looking for a job god help me please oh god help"
"Hi my name is ___ and I'm looking to expand my network. Will you be my friend?"
"Hi my name is ___ and I'm a recent graduate of ___. I notice you went there too. So you know that it's really shit, but you also know that we can both do this work. Please call me at ___."
"Hi my name is ___ and I'm looking for a job. Oh, you're just a 1-person shop? Okay, let me tell you about something I noticed on your website. You say that the name of your company is a 'play-on-words', but it's more specifically a portmanteau. Like how smog is smoke + fog, or how you take Clarkson + software to make Clarkware- Hello? Hello?"
"Hi my name is ___ and I'm trying to get into the ___ field. Do you have a problem with people with scary-looking beards? I just want to make sure you don't discriminate against beards before we go any farther." (Even if you do not yourself have a beard, this is still a good script because everybody should love beards.)
"Hi my name is ___ and my classmate ___ works at your firm. I helped him/her on an assignment once, so he/she owes me and should put in a good word for me. I need a job, too. When can I start?"
"Hi my name is ___ and I need to pretend to be employed so I can get the line of credit I need to finance a big cash deal tonight. Could I trouble you to verify that I'm a VP there and make $200K? Thanks very much."
Feb. 25th, 2015
I think it's fantastic that equality and human rights are defined by gay marriage.
Truly, we live in a new Golden Age of Liberty.
We must. Gay marriage is the pinnacle of human rights. When they have gay marriage in Iran, everything will be alright.
Here in North America, now that well-to-do people held in considerable social esteem who are in age numerically qualified to have the fullest rights that we allow can achieve a protected status with one other well-to-do person of comparable social esteem at a time who is in age numerically qualified to have the fullest rights that we allow, from the same generation, and no more closely related than 999th cousin, regardless of the sameness or opposition of the genitals or chromosomes or gender identities between said people, there is literally nothing left to do!
Yes, yes, there are extremists saying we should question our notions of what is acceptable, but they are a bunch of Queer Marxist Bolshevik Socialist Communist Leftist Liberal Hippies - pay no attention to them.
But gay marriage! Yay!
Feb. 6th, 2015
A letter I wrote to the Chronicle Herald, regarding a piece on the language used in reporting sexual assaults:
If the justice system is to be fair, it would seem that a determinedly even-handed treatment of evidence and the law is required even in the most explosive cases. We need to maintain this in our discourse. “Alleged” and “accused” must be used in reporting all undecided criminal cases, including sexual violence. If a reporter accepts innocent until proven guilty, a fundamental tenet of our legal system, their use of these words should be ubiquitous and should not affect a reportee’s credibility. How could they, if they’re used evenly across all types of cases?
Of course, perhaps they are not used evenly in all cases and this merits closer examination. (Numbers would be helpful – I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reporter so she can support her own claim.) If we applied extra linguistic precautions to sexual assault cases that we don’t use anywhere else, that would indeed be unfair to the true survivors. We must treat all types of cases fairly and not isolate our demands for fairness to this one domain.
I would also like to see numbers about the probability of false accusations for sexual assault relative to other domains, though reliable statistical work would be extremely challenging for both inborn and extrinsic reasons. However, even if this claim has strong support, it’s a red herring because each case must be judged on its individual merits. Imagine a change to the justice system where, since 75% of accused of crime Z were found guilty anyway, we simply convict everyone accused of crime Z since there’s a 75% chance we’ll be right.
Update: Lowe found some numbers, see blog.
Innocent until proven guilty necessarily means alleged until proven survivor. We need not go to extremes to speak of how they might be lying. We can offer assistance and support to the alleged without having to make a verdict. This is hard work: It’s much easier to deal in absolutes and strict categories. But when we think that way, a lot of important principles get thrown under the bus.
If we stop upholding innocent until proven guilty in our discourse, the politicians and even the courts themselves won’t be far behind. As terrible as assault and killing are, we also have to step back and allow fair and independent adjudication, because an unfair and capricious justice system would be both less effective and become its own new evil.
* * *
I give this a longer treatment in a formal blog post: "Justice for all".
Nov. 18th, 2014
A letter I wrote to Maclean's, regarding a report on female teacher sexual transgressors:
Anne Kingston’s thesis, that the treatment of female teachers who become sexually involved with their male students reflects legal and cultural double standards, is borne out, but I hope that we don’t solve this double standard by making female teacher offenders and their (sometimes-unwilling-to-be) victims as miserable as their male counterparts and theirs.
Given the extreme consequences we mete out to sexual transgressors, we must more than ever before reflect on how we know that our outlawed sexualities are innately harmful - that is, damaging by their nature, beyond their violent, life-destroying extrinsic consequences. The exacerbating effects of the secrecy and isolation necessary in these teacher-student relationships also merits analysis. It is akin to how getting gunned down by the mob would have been an attendant risk of trading in alcohol during Prohibition.
Psychology has before failed to test assumptions based on social norms, with tragic results. Only in 1973 did the American Psychiatric Association declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. Furthermore, mandating the status of victim on people who don’t want it is inhumane. There’s also something sinister about insisting that someone is hurt in an invisible way and might not even know it. It should be regarded as skeptically as we would Recovered-Memory Therapy and Facilitated Communication.
Robert Shoop’s mechanisms for the alleged damage could have been used to defend prohibiting premarital sex. He’s a specialist in education law, not a scientist or even a psychologist. The ‘damage’ from doing the inappropriate thing is an increased propensity to do the inappropriate thing. Similarly, if someone takes me jogging, and I enjoy it, I have an increased propensity to jog. And I might have difficulty settling for walking anymore – why walk when I can jog? But jogging, fortunately, isn’t illegal.
* * *
Dear Mr. Matheson,
Thank you for your letter.
It will be considered for publication, but final decisions are not made until the final moments of the magazine's production, and no letter's inclusion can be guaranteed. If you do not want it considered for publication, let us know immediately.
Meanwhile, it has been forwarded to the author of the article, who will appreciate the feedback.
All the best,
* * *
I give this a much, much longer treatment in a formal blog post: "Mandatory Victimhood: In light of female teacher transgressors, let’s examine our assumptions". Writing this letter was an opportunity to distill my message into 300 words or
Sep. 9th, 2014
03:36 pm - A river runs rantant
For a September 4th writing workshop class:
A thing that you have to get used to about rivers is the one-way ness. It's not necessarily impossible to swim upstream, but it's often exceedingly difficult. You might not even be able to hold your place. If you're headed for the rocks, you might be able to reduce the impact forces infinitesimally, but you can forget about getting back up to a place where you can walk out of the water.
How much are our lives like the plight of the river swimmer? People say "don't blame your circumstances, make them", but everything about your ability to make new circumstances comes from your existing circumstances. Things are complex and therefore all but theoretically unpredictable, yes, but that doesn't mean we should expect a Target in Sherbrooke tomorrow.
Our myths of a meritocracy might be a momentary delusion. At the very least, its newness is worth bearing in mind. Would you tell a medieval peasant that he could become a king if only he worked harder? If network marketing pays better than looking after your sister's children, does that mean top-tier Amway distributors are simply more worthy? No, those things aren't mutually exclusive, but there are limits to our time and energy. Things that we can't imagine are possible, but not everything we can imagine is possible.
The merciless river won't allow us to be perfectionists. We have to work with what we have - if we try to reach for the calmer upstream waters, we guarantee a close and personal meeting with something hidden, jagged, coarse, and very hard.
Here is an excerpt from Ecclesiastes:
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Perfectionists are necessarily narcissists. For us, that first verse reads:
Whatsoever thy mighty hand findeth to do, do it with thine almighty power; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, wither thou may go, therefore set thine everlasting works upon the earth and let them shine for ever more.
And then you're frustrated when things don't work out. And then you're frustrated because you're frustrated, because things are just supposed to work out. It must be somebody else's problem. They just don't understand how great I am. I admit, sometimes such greatness can be intimidating.
I used to believe that being a perfectionist was a compliment. Perhaps in certain circumstances is still is. But if you're the only one who cares about the "perfection", it might be time to readjust your priorities.
What were we talking about? Something about how great I was? Oh, no, the river.
We're lucky to have the rocky rapids, really. It's a wonder somebody didn't try to make it navigable. Imagine if you could ship your whale oil and ceiling wax up to Lochaber Lake, and ship timber down? Log drives, at least, were apparently common. I wouldn't want to be among those responsible for clearing a jam in the rapids. Sometimes, though perhaps not around here, they used dynamite.
There used to be lots and lots of salmon, too. Today there is only a recreational catch-and-release fishery, and that only some years. If you'd like to meet some friendly people in green trucks, head out onto the river with your fishing gear.
Acceptance is the word of the day. Whether you're lost in a river, trying to find a job, or spending some time in the crowbar saloon after your fishing trip, do the best you can with what you have, and try not to whine so hard that it drowns out the forest breeze and the calls of the wild creatures. Go ahead and drown out the Sherbrooke lawn mower brigade, though. In fact, put holes in all the gas tanks. You have my blessing. Just don't let anyone see you, or you'll be hearing about all the best salmon spots.
Aug. 20th, 2014
For an August 7th writing workshop class:
I heard the satisfying crunch of the gravel as I sped down the driveway. Hearing the crunch at 3am was somehow different from hearing it at noon. Perhaps the darkness of night impelled me to divert extra attention to my hearing.
The tunnel of trees eventually gave way to reveal the house. The lights that were always on at night were on. The lights that weren't always on were off. The interior lights were off. The barn lights were off. The ... the upstairs bathroom light was on.
I must have just left it on when I left. But I left during the day, so why would I have turned that light on? The window lets in plenty of light.
I parked the car, slowly engaging the hand brake with what would otherwise be reassuring clicks. Engine off. The sounds of the door opening and closing must have carried a long way through the still night air and probably also across the still water of the nearby lake.
Though it wasn't as if anyone were trying to hear.
At least probably not.
I stepped lightly but briskly to the back door. The part where I walk from the car to the house is when I'm most vulnerable to predators. I hear bears can get to the Human McNuggets inside a car but in a car I could probably forcefully drive away provided too much of the bear wasn't already in or on the car. In the house I can shut the doors and barricade myself somewhere like the bathroom. No place is perfectly safe, but between the car and the house I am the least safe.
Step, step, step, turn knob, pull, step, turn myself, pull... exhale! I'm in!
I'm in the house I'm staying in, but it's not my house. It belonged to my grandparents and it is mostly still laid out the way they had it. As I step into the kitchen, turning on lights as I go along, a hundred little porcelain turtles eye me carefully.
"Hello?" I call out.
I walk to the other end of the kitchen and approach the stairs up. I see the bathroom light on at the top.
"Anyone in there?"
The green glow of the stair chair, parked at the bottom, illuminates the opening steps. I climb them. Then the bathroom light takes over for the top steps. I climb those.
"Is there someone in the bathroom?"
"Y at-il quelqu'un dans la salle de bain?"
"Czy jest ktoś w łazience?"
I hear nothing but silence. I step into the bathroom. In the bathroom I find...
"Amy, what's a scary thing you could find in a bathroom? In a scary story."
"Evidence of someone else being there? Like different coloured hair in your hairbrush? The toilet paper mounted facing the other way than you normally have it? The guest towel has been used?"
"How about a pin? Provided it's sitting on top of a package of condoms."
I found none of those things. I turned out the light. But... absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Whatever or whoever it was could still be in the house right now. Oooooooo.
That was a terrible scary story but at least it was original. The last time I tried to write one I just stole a story from one I read in a collection. Unfortunately, someone else in my class had read that collection and after I told "my" story, he said he'd heard it before. That was scarier for me than the story I retold.
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