Posted by kluster on August 31, 2009
1. A pre-tour signal.
Fever Chart by Bill Cotter
Stoners and Self-Appointed Saints by Annie La Ganga
In the last few years, the nonliving object that has terrified me more than any other is my pocket calculator. Today, in summing up some data regarding my girlfriend Annie La Ganga’s and my dual book-signing/reading tour, upcoming this September 3-22, my light-blue Texas-Instruments 503SV shocked me thrice. The first figure it produced - 7886.63 - was so frightening that it could only be an error. I added its components again. Again I came up with 7886.63. So it was true: this was to be the number of miles we would travel in the fourteen-event tour. Not just travel. Drive. For the benefit of those forced into metrification, my calculator notes that this is equivalent to 12,692 km.
The second figure my calculator produced, 127.17, a function of the number above, proved to be the number of hours we should expect to spend, in the car, driving. This does include the number of hours we will spend in the car as a stationary object, a metal and glass pup tent, parked on a narrow shoulder, sleeping. Nor does it include the hours we will spend in the car becoming and unbecoming lost, jammed-up in traffic, idling while an officer of the law runs our tags, or bogged down in Midwestern floodwaters.
The third figure, 976.44, is in many ways the scariest - the absolute minimum number of dollars we will spend on gasoline. TI503SV says: 1159.04 AUD. This is in hopes that our car, a 2001 Nissan, will achieve at least 21 miles per gallon (8.93 km/l), and that fuel will not exceed an average setback of $2.60.More...