Saturday, December 31, 2005

The BSOD

There is a room. In width it is approximately ten metres. In length it is, as far as anybody has been able to determine, infinite. In this room are two rows of desks, or approximately infinite length, each sporting a plain looking computer, and a user. All, or approximately all, are male because, you know, there are no female computer geeks.

In addition to the relatively infinite number of operators - infinity being entirely relative to your frame of reference and I don't want to go into it too deeply here or anything because it is all very complicated, but let's just say that there's more to infinity than meets the eye. Anyway, in addition to the relatively infinite number of operators there is also an infinite, though infinitely smaller, number of overseers monitoring the many computers and users.

At this moment all but one of those users are enacting essentially the same dance, though the details differ - a study in limitless variability, while retaining a remarkable uniformity. On each computer monitor appears the same image - it is a blue screen with strange archaic print, including the most cryptic "IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL".

"Oh bugger," echoes down the endless hall, "oh shit oh shit oh shit." Fists crash into keyboards, arms are flung expressively skyward in supplication, faces twisted in despairing rage.

"Huh!?" a lone voice sounds, as its owner looks up from his screen and wonders where all the other players have gone.

"What the hell happened?" demands the Grand Controller, in his private booth as ape-like minions scurry about desperately seeking a response that will not result in eternal damnation in one of the lesser-known hell dimensions.

"Master," a sub-controller approaches fearfully, "Overseers report massive reality failures in all dimensions bar one. Some kind of buffer overflow caused by the discharge of a quantum particle accelerator accross an event-horizon."

The Grand Controller squints with barely contained fury at his underling. "Wasn't that supposed to have been fixed in service pack two? How is it a damn user-level bug can bring the whole system down?"

"Um..."

"And why did that one reality stay up?"

"Um..." the underling mumbles eloquently, "It may not be running Windows TM Edition, or something..."

"Just as I thought. Damn BSD hackers. We'll be sued for contract violation if this gets out." The Grand Controller stands and paces for a while, his face a mask of dread determination. "How long before the multiverse can be restarted?"

"About two thousand years, though there is bound to be some data loss."

"Right, I'll be in my quarters. Let me know when it's done," the Grand Controller heads for the door, pauses, and "One more thing, get that BSD system replaced immediately."

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #23

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making pizza, and garlic bread, and maybe a fruit salad for dessert with a dollop of cream and possibly some shaved chocolate on top.

Actually life is what happens to you in between birth and death, but that doesn't sound nearly as good.

Henry and the Rhyme Lord - Part 3

"Do not mess with me, evil minion of chaos, for I am Henry the Adequate, superhero!" I release my choke hold a little so he may speak, though for some reason he chooses to use the reprieve for breathing instead. "Speak, worm."

"The tardis is a hyperdimensional time/space machine, capable of moving anywhere and anywhen in any of the multitude of universes."

"Get to the bit about the pizza shop," I prompt subtley by jabbing him in the ribs with the flamethrower embedded in my forearm.

"We have moved ten thousand years into your past," he explains.

"And..." I set a nearby tree on fire, just to show that I am serious.

"... and the pizza shop has not," he admits with some aprehension, as though he is being menaced with a deadly flamethrower by some kind of madman in externally fitted underwear, then goes on quickly, like someone who is convinced he is about to be brutally incinerated. "But I can take you home, really. The problem is not movement in this universe."

"So what is the problem," I prompt furiously, my cheesy-consumable withdrawls only slightly assuaged by the news that he can return me to my own time. I have important world-saving and supervillain fighting to attend to and all of this dilly-dallying about in time-space paradoxes is rather tiresome, and probably infringes on any number of copyrights, not to mention patents, and anyway, what does this have to do with me? "And what does it have to do with me?" I add for good measure.

"The problem is that whenever I try to dimension-shift into a different reality we just get thrown to some random time in this one. It's extremely frustrating, almost as though all of the other universes have ceased to exist, somehow."

"Oh... Um...." Now this is embarassing.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #22

Truth is what happens when you forget to make stuff up.

Henry and Louise - Age Nine

"Did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?" The creepy evil looking man pointed his gun at me menacingly.

"Yes, actually, I did," said I, honestly and with some conviction.

"What? um... Are you sure you understood the question?"

"Devil. Moonlight. Dancing. Sure." I looked at him innocently but with a deep intelligence beyond my years.

He became somewhat frantic at this point, and berated me, arms waving expressively. "No, no it's a rhetorical question - you're not supposed to answer in the affirmative. Clearly nobody has ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight."

"Obviously you have not met my sister."

"Sister?"

"Here she is now. Louise, say hello to the nice man with the big gun."

Even after all these years I still feel sorry for him.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Henry's Sysadmin Toolbox

[WARNING: This story contains dangerous material. Under no circumstances should its advice be taken literally, or at all.]

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

Recently I have seen several very interesting articles on software utilities of use to sysadmins, such as this one, and this one. However the author(s) miss the mark in several very important areas, which is no surprise, since they are not superheroes like me. So, it's Henry the Adequate to the rescue.

rm - I have tried a lot of disk space/compression utilities, but none match the power and flexibility of rm. Why with a simple "rm -rf /" one can achieve 100% compression. (warning: Do not try this at home - only trained administrators such as myself should attempt to harness the incredible power that is "rm -rf /")

glxgears - This is the best game ever, because it plays itself, and I just have to watch - sometimes for hours. As a busy sysadmin I don't get time to actually play games, so this is the next best thing.

Mozilla Firefox - With Firefox you can add functionality with so-called "extensions". Install enough extensions in this browser and you can guarantee memory leaks, high cpu usage, and random browser crashes. This is excellent if you get paid per callout, or are just bored. Install Firefox and ten or twenty extensions on every user's computer, and watch the dollars roll in. You might even be able to increase the size of your department.

Bash - I was going to put bash here, since sometimes that is the best way to deal with a certain class of user, however when I typed "bash Fred" the response was "No such file or directory", which is damn stupid if you ask me. Firstly, I know where Fred lives, so don't need to look him up in the telephone directory. Secondly what's with the "file" business? If I'm going to bash somebody it will be with a large hammer of some kind, or a club. I would have no intention of giving them a manicure.

Norton Antivirus - All computers need a virus scanner, and anybody who tells you otherwise is a nasty haxzour trying to steal all of your sauerkraut. Please refer here for an example of how to deal with such an individual.

/dev/null - Ok, so this is not a piece of software, but a device, however /dev/null definitely deserves a place here because it provides a source of unlimited storage. For example typing "mv ~ /dev/null" will free up a whole lot of space on your home partition. And the good thing is you can just keep putting stuff in /dev/null and it will never fill up. (warning: Do not try this at home - only trained administrators such as myself should attempt to harness the incredible power that is /dev/null)

The Gimp - This is a fantastic image editor. You can use The Gimp to make money. Just don't get caught.

Ted's Famous Spyware CD - This is an excellent resource for spyware, and remember spyware is an extremely vital tool for any administrator needing an excuse to spend money on new hardware. Just stick Ted's CD in the drive, and let autorun take care of the rest. Before you know it you'll have some of the best spyware and adware in the business silently installed on every computer on your network. Watch the system slow to 286 speed. Watch the Pointy Haired Boss authorize massive expenditure to replace the "ancient" systems you bought last year. Watch the PHB protest loudly as he is dragged away by the cops for operating a counterfeit ring. See the sysadmin buy the "old" hardware for next to nothing and make a tidy profit on ebay.

Wipe - To remove evidence of aforementioned activities.

Henry and the Rhyme Lord - part 2

"What does TARDIS stand for, anyway," I inquire casually as he procedes to press some buttons on what looks like a TV remote control, causing the object to lift off slightly. There is only a slight amount of extreme pain as feeling begins to return to my foot.

"Time and Rhyming Dimensions in Superherodom," he replies with even greater enthusiasm, "I am a Rhyme Lord."

"This is a joke, right?" And not a very good one at that.

"Oh no," he explains denyingly, while I am busy desperately hoping nobody notices that I ripped half the previous episode and put it into this one so I don't have to write so much today, but anyway it's the holidays, so bugger off. "You must come with me right now!"

"Why?"

"The fate of the universe depends on it, now follow me!" He hurries into the grey box. I follow because, you know, this kind of situation always works out well in the movies.

"So what's going on?" I demand with all of my superhuman powers of speech, "and why is your tardis smaller on the inside than it is on the outside?"

"You're not taking into account the thickness of the walls."

"Oh, yes that would be it. Not very roomy is it."

"I need to get to the controls over there." We manouvre around each other a bit until he can get past me, then he begins speaking into some kind of grille. "Um... Henry and me, going to... um... tea... and then we will see....um... universally..."

I decide at this point that the so called "rhyme lord" is just a little bit monumentally insane, and that it was probably a mistake for me to follow him into this tiny coffin-shaped coffin. I push open the door and step out into the primordial rainforest, glad to be free of that lunatic rhyme lord. Now I think it is time for pizza.

This proves to be a little difficult as the pizza shop is not where I left it. There also seems to be a significant absense of streets, cars, houses, and humans.

"See, there's the problem," remarks the rhyming nutter from behind me, "This is the most advanced rhyme powered time machine ever invented, but here we are, not even in the right universe."

I grab him by the throat and slam him into the nearest tree. "What have you done with my pizza shop, fiend!"

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #21

Wisdom is the absence of Wisdomlessness.

Henry and the Rhyme Lord

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

I am roaming the footpaths in search of supervillians, or God, or supervillain gods like in Buffy, when I notice a strange looking grey box materialize out of nowhere. I notice it because of my extra-sensory powers of super perception, and because it materializes on my foot. A door in the thing opens and a dishevilled person with big hair and a strange overcoat emerges, stretches, and starts off down the street.

"Hey you!" I call commandingly in my huge booming super-heroic voice.

"Me?"

"Yes, you!" I boom regally, my chest thrust expandingly and my enormous muscles flexing with intimidation powers tuned to maximum, "Identify yourself!"

He returns obligingly. "I'm the doctor."

"Doctor who? What is your name, and why are you dressed thusly."

"No, my name is Doctor What," he replies, thereby narrowly averting a major international lawsuit by the narrowest of margins.

"Well, Doctor Whatever, I am Henry the Adequate, superhero! And what is this thing?"

"Oh excellent, excellent. Just the kind of person I'm looking for. This is my TARDIS," he announces excitedly and with much pride as though the object is something to be proud of.

"Well do you think you could get it off my foot?"

"Oh, sorry."

"What does TARDIS stand for, anyway," I inquire casually as he procedes to press some buttons on what looks like a TV remote control, causing the object to lift off slightly. There is only a slight amount of extreme pain as feeling begins to return to my foot.

"Time and Rhyming Dimensions in Superherodom," he replies with even greater enthusiasm, "I am a Rhyme Lord."

"This is a joke, right?"

Monday, December 26, 2005

Henry Goes to Church

"My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero."

"Um..." The priest guy looks a bit confused at something I have said, "How can I help you, Henry."

So this is what a church looks like. It is a kind of a building with statues and various graven idols and things. After the events of last night I find myself strangely drawn to this place. "I need to speak with God immediately." I am determined, and will not take no for an answer.

"All are welcome to pray here, Henry," he smiles strangely, as though about to go for my neck, or my wallet.

"So," I reply with some surprise, "I don't need an appointment?" This God guy sure is efficient.

"Appointment?"

"So where is he?" I look around for some kind of holy office or something.

The church guy suddenly looks very serious. "My son," he says with much seriousness, even though he is not my dad, "Are you taking the piss?"

I do my best Clint Eastwood squint. Is this person trying to obstruct my justicing? "I have some very serious questions for God, and if you are not going to bring him out here right now then I will have to believe that you are accessorizing, and that would probably go very badly for you, Church man."

"God exists in you, Henry," he says warily, while backing slowly away. I briefly consider turning the flamethrower on myself, but eventually determine by virtue of my super-duper xray vision that God does not in fact exist in me. Also, many of my bits hurt, possibly because of the whips and chains and probes and things. Fortunately last night was not a complete loss - I did manage to pump Ms Bees Knees subtley for information during the whole ordeal, and now have a very good understanding of the state of the underworld, or possibly the S&M scene, at this moment.

No doubt God slipped out the back way while his lackey here kept me busy. Damn those clever supernatural beings.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #20

The world is my oyster. I hate oysters.

Henry's Christmas

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

The streets are strangely quiet. Shops are closed. I wonder if some weird evilness has robbed the world of people. It is as though a strange comet has appeared in the sky, and all who witnessed it have spontaneously disappeared from the face of the Earth. There is some evidence to support this idea. For example I have seen no comet, and have not disappeared. Also there was that 80s documentary.

Or perhaps it is just christmas day, but I do not want to be jumping to any conclusions.

Regardless of whether the people have all spontaneously turned to dust, or been abducted by aliens, or whether they are just all home celebrating some pagan festival, I am still Henry the Adequate, superhero, and I must still protect the innocent and save goodness from the insidious encroachment of badness. So I move on, wandering the lonely streets, searching for clues and possibly some monster to bravely battle.

But what was that sound? There it is again - sort of a loud banging crashing sound that only just manages to make itself heard. I think there may be somebody moving amongst the rubbish bins a little further down the street and throwing them about like large green plastic objects. Either that or the bins have developed a life of their own and are plotting to arise as masters of the Earth now that all the people have vanished.

"Bugger!" says a voice, possibly humanoid or possibly binoid, but definitely female, "Bugger bugger bugger."

"Hello." I approach cautiously, prepared to put my life on the line once again for the sake of all mankind, or binkind.

"What!" From the rubbish appears a woman, somehow vaguely familiar, and somehow rather frightening, while at the same time attractive and somehow quite desirable, particularly the knees.

"Fear not, for I am Henry the..."

"Henry you fucking idiot. I know who you are."

"Ah, the evil Bees Knees! Do not think that you can escape my super-powered self yet again, Ms Knees, for I am..."

"Fuck Henry, don't come round me with your super-bloody-hero talk or I'll nail your head to the fucking barbeque and roast your chestnuts, see if I don't. And if I get any more fucking carob bars for christmas I'll be making this whole fucking city pay. People are such imberciles, especially you, and anyway what the hell is all this christmas fucking cheer except mindless drones parrroting endless platitudes which are somehow supposed to make up for them being complete arseholes the rest of the year."

She pauses for breath, which gives me an excellent chance to say something really clever and intelligent. "Um..."

"And don't get me started about John fucking Lennon. I gave peace a chance, and now I am going to give extreme violence a chance, and I know that for sure, and anyway who the fuck do you think you are coming round here and trying to tell me what to do and shit, and anyway, Henry, let's fuck."

"Um, ok then." I am afraid to say no.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #19

Love is all you need. That and a flamethrower. Maybe some pizza. Cash is also useful. Food and drink, shelter, clothing, the aqueduct.

Love is one of a considerable number of pleasant and potentially significant things, the value of which is subjective in nature and open to many different evaluations and interpretations which may or may not serve to further enlighten on a purely personal and individual level. Love may or may not be all you need.

The Wisdom of Henry #18

Be careful what you wish for, especially if the wife is listening.

Holiday Posting

The time has come for all who believe in the christmas spirit to rejoice, etc etc. Those individuals should definitely avoid tomorrow's (Dec 25) Henry episode, since it is a bit of a downer really, and somewhat anti-christmas-spirit, and also contains rude words.

For the period beginning today until January 30 I will be on holiday from my real work - that other thing I do for which I receive compensation sufficient to allow the purchase of some stale bread for my family, but hey, it pays better than writing this crap. And anyway, I do get free toilet paper.

During the aforementioned period Henry postings will become somewhat intermittent, and maybe you are now thinking "Right, so by intermittent you mean, of course, there will be no postings," but things are not that bad. I have a few episodes already written in advance, and do not want to stop altogether, since it is something I enjoy, so with any luck things will not be so different. Notice that I am being deliberately vague. This is because I want you all to come and check for updates each day and possibly even click on the google ads. If enough people click on the google ads I might be able to afford a second loaf of bread next christmas.

If you are going away for the holidays please find yourself a replacement. Suggest "Henry the Adequate" to a couple of friends, but only if you don't really value them as friends. Add http://henrytheadequate.blogspot.com to the bottom of all your christmas cards. Ok, so it's a bit late to suggest that, but you get the idea. Drop Henry's name in casual conversation. "Pass the salt please... Thanks. Henry the Adequate is really good at passing salt, by the way." If you know any really famous people, such as Tamara Thorne, or Sting, or maybe that famous actor guy - you know the one - send them over here and then maybe they could mention Henry in interviews and books and songs and seances, and stuff.

But whatever you do don't tell my mum.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Henry's Computer Buying Guide

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

This is the second in my series of articles aimed at those who wish to become a computer guru like me. Today I will guide you step by step through the process of purchasing a computer.

Introduction
First, some ground rules, which I will be calling "The Three Laws of Henry" until I think of a better name.
  1. Henry is always right.
  2. The customer is always right, except where it conflicts with rule one.
  3. A robot must protect itself except where doing so conflicts with rules one or two.
Ok, so the third rule I stole from some writer guy, but at least I changed the wording a bit.

Step One - Going to the shop
I recommend some form of transportation device, unless you live right next door to the shop. Even then it might be a good idea to take the car in case you don't have enough cash (more on that later).

Steer clear of those nasty online stores, because the web is a dangerous place full of giant spiders and lunatic crackers who will steal your credit card number and your favourite teddy. I miss my teddy.

Step Two - Choosing a Computer
The best way to choose a computer is some form of random selection process. This is because of the following rules which I have cleverly named "Some More Laws of Henry".
  1. All computers are crap.
  2. All salespersons lie.
  3. All cats are grey after midnight.
However, and this is the tricky bit, most of the time the salesdroid will try to sell you a computer with Microsoft Windows on it. This is because of rule two above, and also because they are grovelling minions of the evil empire, hell bent on enslaving the population via their nefarious schemes and plottings and viruses and worms and spyware and region coding.

many people think that region coding is just a way of restricting where DVDs can be played. But the truth is much more sinister and bizarre, and will be discussed in my upcoming article "The Evils of Region Coding".

But, anyway, the important thing is that you must not give in to the criminally insane salesdude. Those Windows computers may be all shiny and enticing, but they will suck the soul from your brain, or kidney, or whever it usually lives, and send it screaming to the deepest of hells. Instead you must beat the salesperson about the head a few times with whichever laptop is closest while at the same time chanting "Linux, Linux, Linux, Linux".

After you have done this for about ten minutes [s]he will get the message and bring forth the only linux computer in the place. You should randomly select that one.

Step Three - Buying the Computer
Point at the computer you have selected, then announce loudly and proudly, "I will buy that computer, and I will pay whatever you want for it."

Step Four - Paying for the Computer
This is the easy part. Reach for wallet/purse, extract cash/credit card/cheque book, pay the evil salesdroid.

Now don't get me wrong, it can get a little complicated. Perhaps you have no money, or would very much like to keep the money you do have. Perhaps you are a mindless imbercile who is incapable of operating a wallet. I don't know. Whatever. The point is that there may be some reason you are unable or unwilling to pay actual money for your new computer. The temptation may be great, but under no circumstances offer sexual favours in return for the computer - not even if you really want to. Instead follow these steps precisely.
  1. Explain that you will return soon with cash.
  2. Wait in car until the store has closed for the night, or possibly until the lights change, depending on your attention span.
  3. Reverse car at extreme acceleration into the store front.
  4. Collect your new computer.
  5. Remove car from store.
  6. Using your embedded flamethrower burn the store to the ground, because that is fun.
Step Five - The End
So, there you have it - your very own brand new personal computer.

The Wisdom of Henry #17

Things can always get worse. Even if you have, and this is completely hypothetical and theoretical and just for example... even if you have just destroyed an infinite number of universes. And anyway I was nowhere near those universes when it happened.

But the point is that things can always get worse. Trust me, I'm a superhero.

Henry the Pirate

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

I wake to the sound of something pounding against something else. What is going on? I stumble out of my room in time to see the front door cave in under the weight of a couple of thugs. "What the..."

"Henry the Adequate?" An extremely evil looking person in an extremely evil looking suit sneers at my nakedness.

"Yes. Who are you?"

"Henry the Adequate, you are hereby charged with, and sumarily convicted of, sedition, supporting terrorism, and being a bad boy."

"What? Huh?" I protest intelligently as they drag me out into the street.

"Do you have any last requests?"

"Now hang on a minute, what exactly am I supposed to have done?"

"It has been determined that you did deliberately and with malicious intent illegally download a song called..." and here he consults an extremely evil looking clipboard, "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts. Now do you have any last requests, you dirty traitor pirate?"

"Sure, how about Madonna's Like A Virgin?" And then I let my flamethrower do the talking. It roars gleefully and consumes the nasty record company person and his thugs like an extremely powerful fire-breathing weapon consuming a couple of obnoxious pricks.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #16

Trying to be a superhero is like trying to be cool... Somehow... or something... well it sounded good in my head.

Henry's Computer Toolkit

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

Since becoming a computer guru I have been receiving quite a lot of requests for advice, mostly from those who aspire to one day become as I. Therefore, in the interest of the whole community I present the first in a series of articles offering solid and practical computer advice.

"Henry," people ask, "Please tell me which tools I should take on a job." People are always very polite with me, possibly because of the flamethrower. So, without further beating around the bushedness, here is the contents of my toolkit:

Essential Tools.
  1. Screwdriver - A phillips head, or "star", screwdrive is most useful. For other types of screws see (2) below.
  2. Angle Grinder - for those hard to open cases. Explosives work almost as well, but are more likely to destroy the entire system, so I guess this one comes down to personal preference.
  3. Torch - for setting things on fire.
  4. Computer screws - Some lusers will remove their shoes in an attempt to approach silently, and take you by surprise. Spread a few of these little buggers about the place and you will always be able to hear their approach because of the painful groans and curses.
  5. Cable Ties - Under no circumstances should these be used to sustain an erection. Trust me, I'm a superhero.
  6. Soldering Iron - This item is extremely useful for performance tweaking. For example, if the computer you are working on appears to be running slowly you can solder some short cuts onto the motherboard. Remember if the electricity doesn't have to travel as far then it will get there sooner.
  7. Axe - the larger the better. In order to work efficiently a stress-free working environment is necessary, and there is nothing that relieves tension quite like a bout of mindless violence and/or destruction.

Also Handy.
  1. Chocolate - Ok this probably belongs under essential.
  2. Knoppix CD - so you can freak Windows users out by making them think you've replaced their entire operating system.
  3. Debian CD - so you can replace their entire operating system.
  4. Ubuntu CD - because they're free.
  5. Sony music CD - so you can install rootkits and other nasties on their computer. (see here.)
  6. The Internet - Burn the internet onto a cd. This will save you having to download drivers and stuff, and you can also reinstall all of their porn from its original source.
  7. Windex (or similar) - As I'm sure you're aware Microsoft Windows (tm, c, r, stfu) needs to be cleaned up regularly, so it is a pretty good idea to carry some window cleaner in the field. You may also be able to solve certain problems by pouring a bottle of the stuff down the user's throat.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #15

When seeking truth leave no stone unturned, except possibly any stones with nasty snakes or scorpions under them.

Henry to the Rescue

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

I have spotted June and Louise - of this I am finally certain. They are having coffee. Louise has one hand under the table, as though hiding some kind of weapon. Her other hand covers June's. I decide that the direct approach is the best, and sit myself down opposite my sister.

"Henry," Louise smirks her evilest grin at me. June pulls her hand from beneath Louise's with a strange and unexplainable look of embarassment.

"Don't worry June," I reassure, "I will rescue you from the evil Dizzy."

"Rescue?" Louise laughs a hearty and long, "Henry you are indeed a moron of legendary proportions."

"Huh?" I say, then intelligently expand on this with "Um..."

"Oh," I say, as I suddenly calculate, using all of my magnificent intellect, that something may be going on between these two. Perhaps the fact that my sister is now kissing my sidekick is also indicative of something or other that I had not anticipated. "So..."

"You must have noticed," Dizzy sounds incredulous for some reason I am currently unable to fathom. But how the hell was I to know? Sure I have observed with some concern over the last week or two that June seemed to need a tremendous amount of mouth-to-mouth from Louise. Maybe it was a little bit strange, but you can't go leaping to conclusions just on a tiny little bit of evidence like repeated bouts of tongue wrestling. Perhaps June has a saliva deficiency, or keeps falling into pools that I can't see and almost drowning and then being dragged out and dried with super super human speed so fast that not even I can see it and then the only bit I see is the mouth to mouth and therefore it would be wrong for me to jump to conclusions.

"But June, she is evil! Do you not know of her hidious Santa Clones, and the secret plot to enslave the children!" Suddenly they are both giggling like lesbian school girls. "What?" They laugh some more for a while.

"So, there's no evil Santa Clones?"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #14

Being a superhero is a huge responsibility, because people look up to you, or rather look up at you, and say "Please, Mr Superhero, please take your boot off my head." And then you have to decide if you're going to crush them like a bug or just make them give you all their cash.

Henry and the Junes

I drag myself upright, or approximately upright, tendrils of pain wrapping themselves about my brain like an enormous thing with many pain-inducing tendrils. My superhuman senses immediately inform me that only a few minutes have passed. I determine this by precise measurement of the angle of the sun, and by looking at my watch.

There is no time to lose. I notice that my sister's car is still here. Excellent. I hurry into the shops, determined to rescue June from the evil clutches of the evil overlordess (overlady?) Dizzy Louise. This time nothing will stop me. This time I shall prevail over the forces of darkness and their clever dominatrix, Miss Lou. I will...

... walk into a wall. Ouch. Apparently I am still slightly disoriented as a result of having been knocked momentarily unconscious. It matters not. My superhuman healing powers will soon set that right, and meanwhile I must continue looking for Helpful June and her noxious captor.

"June!" I grab a June-looking person by the shoulder and spin her around to face me, but it turns out to be a large, bald, heavily tatooed biker with an enormous beard. Yes, my superhuman healing powers are definitely starting to work. I appologize to the biker chap by falling down under the gentle influence of his fist, and allowing him to kick me for a while.

I am feeling much more healed now, and my vision is beginning to return to normal. "June!" I grab a June-looking person by the shoulder and spin her around to face me, "Oh, sorry officer."

"You ok?" The police man is eyeing my lumps and bruises and, yeah, there's probably a certain amount of blood also.

"Yes, yes, fine thanks. You know, just doing some shopping, and stuff. Sorry to bother you." I cannot allow these distractions to distract me from my mission here, which is to rescue Helpful June.

I hurry off, because I am sure I have spotted her for real at last. I do not know why she is wearing a collar and walking on all fours, but I am certain this will become clear, in time.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #13

Saving documents is a security risk. You should never do that.

Henry and the Pied Santa

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

I am following a potentially evil Santa clone as he wanders aimlessly, or so it seems, through the local shopping centre. He carries a largish bell, which he rings at semi-regular intervals. This is inevitably followed by a round of "Ho Ho Ho"s. Trailing the Santa clone is an ever-increasing line of small children who carry themselves as though somehow mesmerised.

I stay close, in case the quarry attempts to flee, or lead the children over a cliff, or into the ocean, or whatever the hell that pied piper person is supposed to have done. Fortunately there are neither cliffs nor oceans in this particular shopping centre.

Eventually he settles into a large chair, like a king preparing to hold audience, and the children begin to approach by ones and twos in order to pay homage to their blubbery messiah. This is the dangerous part. This is where he may show his true colours. I am on the alert, watching carefully for the slightest hint that he might turn into a hidious toddler-eating troll, or worse still, offer them some Gummi Bears.

After a while the red-clad one rises, announcing that there will be a short break. He heads for the toilet. This, clearly, is my chance. I follow a short distance behind, blending into the crowd by using my super camo powers, and by pretending to look at whatever it is this store sells. We come into a short hallway that leads to the amenities. There is nobody in sight. Seizing my opportunity I grab the jolly red one and drag him through an emergency exit into the bright light of day.

"Who are you working for?" I demand as though I really mean it, slamming him forcibly against the unforgiving concrete wall as security alarms sound ear-shatteringly nearby.

"Huh... " He appears somehow stunned, as though he has just been slammed forcibly against an unforgiving concrete wall.

I see a vehicle approaching out of the corner of my eye, and glance in that direction, while trying to look very casual, as though menacing a Santa clone were the most natural thing in the world. But wait... Who is that?

The driver is Louise, my evil sister, arch enemy to all goodness. The passenger, June. Oh no! June has been captured by the evil cadre of slave masters headed by the most nasty of them all, my dearest sister Dizzy Louise. I follow, Santa forgotten, with all the speed that I can muster, and so rapid is my super speed that I still have them in sight when the car pulls into a parking space several metres further on. Ducking behind a nearby van, I observe as they exit the vehicle.

I feel a sudden stinging numbness in my skull and fall to the pavement a bit. As consciousness fades I catch a glimpse of the evil Santa Clone standing over me brandishing the wooden plank he has apparently just hit me with. Perhaps I have offended him somehow.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #12

The internet is unreliable. Therefore whenever you post stuff to forums and things you should always include your full address, phone number, and place of employment, so that if those special internet computers called "routers" can't find your computer they can always send you replies via standard post.

Henry Does Something

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

Now I am going to do something, and the time at which I intend to do it is now. Yes, the semi-naked Santa may have somehow evaded my super senses, but all is not lost. No, all is not even slightly disoriented.

I shall use my brilliantly superhuman powers of deduction to determine the best possible course of action, and then I will execute my plan with reckless abandon, as is my wont, until all of my enemies are defeated and all of the damsels rescued and all of my cows have come home to roost. Then I will celebrate over the corpses of the evil overlords, and possibly a few damsels I didn't quite rescue in time, until the morning comes and finds me legless, covered in bile, and wandering aimlessly through the city demanding that somebody immediately return my cast iron watermelon peeler. Though how I will be wandering about the city without legs is beyond me.

But that is not important, for now is the time that my super powered brain will spring into cerebral action, disgourging wisdom as though it is mere chunder, projectile vomiting notions of such power and cleverness that none can stand in their way and all the world's nations will bow down their collective heads in thanks and supplication.

... yes, any moment now I will have a thought of some kind...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #11

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what your country can do for your cousin. That way it doesn't seem quite so selfish.

Ask not what your hairdresser can do for you, otherwise you'll end up with a blue mohawk. Trust me, I'm a superhero.

Henry Interrogates the Santa Clone

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

I circle the enormous Santa-clad person. What a monstrous individual. "Tell me who you are working for," I demand menacingly from behind him. To accentuate my point I pull the ropes a little tighter about his massive girth.

He is silently mocking me with his silence and unresponsiveness. Does this fool think he can withstand my formidable powers of interrogation? Ha! It is time to bring out the big guns now. "Please."

Damn, that didn't work. "Do you not know who I am, foul minion of badness? I am Henry the Adequate, superhero and arch nemesis of your evil masters and their Gummi enforcers. You cannot escape me, and I will not release you until you have told me all I need to know."

I suddenly rush around to the front of him, right up to his face, and stare menacingly into his vacant eyes. Then I stare menacingly at his vacant hands, followed by staring surprisedly at his vacant everything. It appears that I have been interrogating an empty Santa suit. At some point the devious criminal mastermind has escaped his bonds, however if I act quickly he should not be hard to find. Judging by the amount of padding that remains I am looking for a very thin man, presumably in nothing but his bra and panties.

Clearly time is short. I must act immediately. There is not a moment to lose. I order pizza and pay extra for their super-fast delivery service.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #10

There are "Stupid Germs" floating around in the air everywhere. When you do something really stupid it is because of inhaling too many Stupid Germs.

The Eighth Day of Christmas

Somebody once gave me eight maids a milking. Boy did that take some explaining - apparently the police frown quite heavily on gifting of human beings, and slavery, and all that kind of stuff. Anyway eventually the maids were taken away and returned to their homes. Of course that left me with eight cows in one very small flat.

But that's another story.

Desperately Seeking Santa

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

Tonight I roam the footpaths in search of evil Santa clones and their mutant gummi bear handlers. I wonder where my sister is now, and what devious plan she is cooking up in that sweet brain of hers. If only I had killed her when I had the chance, but how could I have known, at age three, that those voices in my head were only attempting to save the future of all mankind.

"Help me Henry," she had called from beyond the cliff-edge. This was a fun game we had invented that involved one of us clinging to the side of a seriously big cliff, to be rescued by the other.

"Fear not!" I called in my three-year-old squeak, "I will save you!" I reached down and grabbed her upstreatched hand, feeling slightly dizzy at the sight that greeted me. This was the highest cliff-edge we had played on yet. Perhaps a holiday to the Grand Canyon had not been such a good idea. Or perhaps some kind of supervision would have been in order.

Anyway, as I started dragging her to safety the voices began calling to me in earnest, begging me to hurl her to the rocks far below, and a nasty death by gravity. For some reason I hesitated. I am uncertain why - it is not like she had ever hestiated in throwing me onto the sharp pointy rocks. Perhaps it was the fact of my destiny to become the champion of goodness that stayed my hand.


Suddenly I spot a fake Santa exiting a shop that has just closed for the night. There is something suspicious about him, and it is not just the ladies underwear that is revealed to my x-ray vision. It is the complete lack of Gummi Bears of any kind. My enemies must be onto me, since they appear to have ordered their operatives not to carry Gummi Bears any more.

I drag him back to my hideout for questioning.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #9

Keep your friends close and your enemies a long long way away. As far as possible. Remember, you are not a superhero.

The Fifth Day of Christmas

I am roaming the footpaths in search of supervillians, determination in every line of my handsome features.

I notice a mini-bus passing by. There is something not-quite-right about it. After a while I decide it must be the five naked posteriors sticking out the windows. In an instant I make the decision to pursue them - this must surely be illegal, and possibly evil. Also, written accross the rear ends is "Henry the Adequate sucks" The fifth, of course, supplies the full stop. I wonder briefly where they found somebody with a big enough behind for the word Adequate, and how he managed to squeeze it through such a small window, then I am off at a pace that no mere mortal could possibly match.

Lucky that taxi happened by. "Driver, follow those five golden-brown rings!"

The pursuit is going well. I have indeed chosen a skillful taxi driver. Then suddenly, for no apparent reason, we have lost them. Damn. How did that happen.

Maybe I should not have stopped at the hot dog stand.

Henry Saves the Children

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

There seems to be a commotion of some kind happening over by the toy section. On closer investigation it appears that a guy in a red suit and a fake beard is pretending to be Santa. That bastard. As if Santa doesn't have enough work to do without imposters running around promising kids all sorts of impossible things.

This false Santa has some snotty faced kid on his lap and appears to be discussing the merits of something called "Ninja turtles". I make my way stealthily into a suitable position to observe as events unfold. I must determine if this Santa is a threat to the children, and if he is working for the Slave masters, and if there might be a chance of me receiving a train set this year.

The boy disembarks abruptly from Santa's ample lap and is about to leave. "Would you like some gummi bears?" Oh no, this must surely be a plot of the evil slave masters and their slave-race, the highly insidious and clever Gummi Bear monsters. The Santa man offers a bag of what may or may not contain mutant gummi bears.

Immediately I leap into action, taking the child in a flying tackle as his hand is about to close on the Brown Paper Bag of Death.

The boy's mother begins hittings me with a cricket bat she just happened to have in her trolley as though she is really grateful that I have saved her son, but for some reason believes that I am a masochist or something. I see security guards are rushing over, presumably to nab the evil bogus Santa.

Satisfied at a job well done, I release the boy and leave the area, so as to avoid any further gratitude.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Fourth Day of Christmas

Beeep. "Henry, this is June. I've discovered an important clue. Call me."

Beeep. "Henry this is Louise. Just calling to let you know that we are enemies again, and that you are a moron. I will crush you and banish goodness via my new plot to subvert the world's children with fake Santas."

Beeep. "Henry, this is mum. You're never home. Please call me, and look after your sister."

Beeep. "Mr Adequate, this is Sonja from the library calling to remind you that you have a book called Boobie Anal Porn Splash Extreme, which is now six months overdue. Please return it immediately together with the eight hundred dollar restocking fee."

Henry's Day After

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

It is good to be home. Back in my own bed I sleep the sleep of the righteous who may or may not have just destroyed an infinite number of universes. Oh there are a few strange dreams about chickens, and eternal gratitude, and such, but the mind of Henry is at ease for the first time in many days.

Morning, I go into my world and walk the streets with a big smile on my face, spreading sunshine and happiness about me. Children are playing in the streets. Birds are singing. Everything looks fresh and new and unlikely to be invaded at any moment by hoardes of robots and their humanoid minions. I see some hoodlum breaking into a car. "Greetings criminal scum!" I enthuse enthusiastically, "Isn't it a lovely day."

"Oh, no, this is my car. I locked the keys in..."

"Oh forgive me citizen," I beam beamingly, "I seem to have mistaken you for the lowlife that you are." These criminal types are always trying to trick me, but I am a fool who belongs to nobody.

Because I am in such a good mood, and also because my ultra-xray-vision shows that the car's registration papers match his licence, I let the criminal off with a warning. Ok, not so much of a warning as an on the spot fine. Ok, so he pays me to go away.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #8

A fool and his Mummy are soon parted. Do you know where your mummy is?

The Third Day of Christmas

"Curse you, evil fiend!" I hurl the weird fox-monster through the air with my tele-psychotic powers, and it smashes violently into a brick wall and collapses to the pavement looking suddenly much less dangerous than when it had been menacingly menacing those three innocent young ladies.

"Thank you Henry the Adequate," the aforementioned youthful beauties gush as one in their odd french accents. They put their hands on me in strange and unusual ways.

"Uh... No need to thank me ladies, for I am Henry the Adequate, superhero! And saving people is what I do." I stand for a moment, posed herocially with legs parted to shoulder width, one hand on hip, and a finger pointed skyward dramatically. This has the unintended consequence of allowing six hands unfettered access to all of my bits.

"We must repay you, Henry the Adequate, superhero."

"Um... ah.... oooohh..."

"Bugger!" I wake, chickens pecking at my toes, demanding to be fed. What the hell kind of a present was that anyway?

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #7

Goodness is better than badness. Anakin should never have embraced the badness like that. Badness is bad.

The Wisdom of Henry #6

Ignorance is its own reward, but it is not bliss, which is an entirely different concept. Bliss is bliss. Ignorance is not knowing stuff.

Homecoming

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

I exit the trans-dimensional portal and fall heavily, jarring my shoulder and causing my trigger finger to convulse somewhat. The quantum particle accelerator discharges in a blinding flash of energy. Fortunately no damage appears to have been done. At least none to speak of. The hyperdimensional portal flickers and disappears with a weird sucking sound, but that was probably going to happen anyway.

I stand up and examine my surroundings. This appears to be some kind of grocery store. People are looking at me strangely for some reason. Perhaps it is the bloodstained dishevelled state of my clothing, or the nasty looking weapon I am carrying, or possibly the fact that I just fell through a large black nothingness where the ceiling used to be. It matters not.

I leave the store and head for home. This turns out to be less trivial than I had imagined. You know, I've heard that the French can be arrogant, and obnoxious, and that they will pretend not to understand English just to annoy tourists, but all of those I spoke to were polite and helpful, and quite willing to converse in English. Maybe it is just my winning personality, although this could also have something to do with the bloodstains, and the nasty looking weapon I am threatening them with. A very helpful chap even gives me his phone.

"Hello?"

"June, it's me."

"Henry! Where are you? What happened?"

"I'm in Paris, apparently."

"What happened? How did you get to Paris? Did you defeat the robotics guy?"

"Maybe I defeated them. It's hard to say."

"What do you mean?"

"Well...."

"What?"

"I may have destroyed the multiverse."

"What?!"

"It was an accident."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Henry's Bluff

"Halt, or the hyperdimensional portal gets it!" In desperation I point the quantum particle accelerator at the portal. At this moment I hope that I am holding onto the correct end of the device. The robot freezes. All of the technicians freeze. The one nearest to me cleares his throat.

"So.... Is that a quantum particle accelerator?"

"Yes."

"Maybe you could point it away from the event horizon?"

Does he think I am a fool? I point the device even more pointedly at the transdimensional portal. "Step aside, Mr Chaos Lord," I challenge the Robot.

"You cannot use that," the robot speaks, "Are you not aware of what would happen?"

"Of course I know what would happen," I assure the evil one. Who does he think he is dealing with? I am Henry the Adequate, superhero and all round genius. "Bad things."

The robot overlord motions to the technician who has previously spoken. "Yeah, very bad things." The technician moves to come closer, but backs off when I make further threatening motions. "There are three possible outcomes to firing a quantum particle accelerator into the event horizon."

"Only three? Ha! I know of at least five!" Do these fool think they can intimidate Henry the Adequate? I will show them the meaning of intimidation. Also, of sophistry, which I just looked up. That is a neat word.

For some reason the technician ignores me, and continues. "Best case scenario - the universe in which the accelerator is activated would cease to exist." Ok, that's not quite what I'd expected him to say - I was rather counting on something slightly less drastic. "Second possibility - The multiverse collapses to a single universe, and all other realities cease to exist. And thirdly, the accelerator malfunctions, its power cell explodes, destroying this building and closing the portal to your reality forever."

"Um... so how come the third one isn't the best case scenario?"

The technician shrugs. "From a scientific viewpoint it is rather boring."

"Ha! You scientists with your singularities and your event horizons and your digital watches. You think you are so clever. But I am Henry the Adequate, superhero, and I have an enormous brain much cleverer than yours! Now, let's do some science." I begin slowly to squeeze the quantum actualizer, also known as a trigger.

"Wait!" The Robot Lord of Chaos moves aside so that I may pass, "I see that you are indeed a moron."

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #5

Revenge is a dish that is best served cold, whereas pizza is a dish that is best served hot. Pizza is better that revenge, because of the cheese.

Henry and the Robot League of Chaos

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

As my former enemy's body falls I notice that a portable quantum particle accelerator seems to have survived the ravaging flames from my embedded flamethrower. I grab it, since you never know when one of those might come in handy.

I turn from the charred remains of the no doubt evil and only pretending to be good Umbrello, and head with much determination for Chaos Point 402. But it seems I have somehow drawn the attention of the League of Chaos to myself.

"Stop or the penguin gets it!" demands the Robot Lord on his giant pink rat, a medium sized penguin grasped in his iron claws.

"Ha!" I mock brazenly. Then just to be sure he gets the message I spray the general area with my flamethrower, and don't even roll around in agony for very long. I am rapidly losing all feeling in that arm for some reason, which makes using the flamethrower less traumatic.

The Robot strides from the flames, tossing aside the charred remains of a penguin. An odour of roast pork, or possibly rat, wafts on the breeze as the smoke billows about the Robot Lord of Chaos as though caressing him, and the flames lick at him like a really excited lover...

I muster my superhuman strength for what may be the final battle of my glorious existence. I muster every wit at my disposal and call out brilliantly, "Foolish machine, you have fallen into my cleverly laid plan and now I will send you to robot hell with all of my might!"

The Chaos Lord pauses, looks about as though seeking the nature of my trap, then causes a massive gun to emerge from its shoulder and point in my general direction. Actually there is nothing general about the direction in which it is pointing. Meanwhile I have paused and am trying furiously to determine the nature of my trap.

The robotic Chaos Lord fires his weapon and there is a massive explosion, but fortunately I am no longer in the location at which the explosion has exploded so explosively. Using my superhuman speed and agility I appear behind him. "Fool robot, I will..." I trip somehow and fall heavily against the robot's back. I can only assume that it has used some kind of clumsy ray on me.

The mechanical monster spins at the waist, one huge and monstrous arm slamming into my chest and hurling me across the road. My body slams into the wall of Chaos Point 402. "So, my plan is working," I announce triumphantly, head spinning with a slight sense of major concussion, pain shooting through my chest with each breath, "I have you now!". Then I notice that something has clattered to the ground beside me. It is the quantum particle accelerator.

The robot is charging across the road, brushing aside cars and humans in its path as though they are merely cars and humans. I grab the particle accelerator and hurry through one of the entrances to the building, then picking myself up again I try the other entrance. Hopefully this one will not turn out to be a concussion-induced hallucination.

Inside I sum up the situation with the speed of a really fast sum-doing calculator. The portal is active. Several technicians are at work on some puppet-related machinery, and another is about to enter the control room, presumably to shut down the portal and trap me here. I discourage this by reducing him to a pile of ash. Now for home...

But suddenly the robot appears between myself and the portal floor, its massive weapon swinging around to bring the chronicles of Henry the Adequate, superhero, finally to a glorious end.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #4

When you wish upon a star it makes you look like a bit of a dick.

Henry Meets a Ghost

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

I am shocked. I am stunned. I am speechless...

...

...

See what I mean? But I am over my speechlessness now. "Umbrello!"

"Do I know you?" My old enemy is dressed in a bright blue superhero costume, and without his trademark umbrella-thopter. Maybe it is being repaired someplace.

"Perhaps not, but I know you, fiend!" How apt that I should come upon an old arch-foe with the gateway to my home in sight. Well I defeated him once, and I will do so again, for I am Henry the Adequate, superhero, and nothing can stand between me and my objective now.

"Then you know that I am Umbrello the great, and that I will stop at nought until the Chaos Lords are destroyed!" he announces proudly at almost the same moment as my flamethrower roars to life, incinerating him instantly.

Bugger.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Second Day of Christmas

If you are going to give turtle doves make sure there are some holes in the box for breathing through. Also, don't wrap them two weeks before the big day.

Learn from Henry's mistakes.

Henry Returns to Wonderland

[this story follows on from Henry and Infinite Chaos which follows on from a whole heap of other stuff]
My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

I emerge from the hyperdimensional portal at a velocity approaching that of a really really fast object, crash through the ceiling with a not-insignificant amount of pain, and soar for a few moments before plummeting toward the ground. This, I think, is going to hurt.

Fortunately my fall is broken by a large concrete object generally referred to as a footpath. I bounce a few metres into the street - yes superheroes do indeed bounce, unlike mere mortals - and come to rest briefly against the windscreen of a passing bus before falling in a shower of glass to the road. This hurts so much I almost stop dictating.

I climb to my feet, brush myself off with the maximum amount of cool that is possible for a person in my present condition, and swagger off down the street. It is possible that my swagger is more of a stagger, but hopefully nobody noticed anything untoward, and anyway I'm sure superheroes fall from the sky all the time in this crazy mixed-up world.

"Wow man, that was excellent!" remarks an unkempt long-haired balding person with a belly that speaks of too many beers, and an odour that speaks of too few showers. Despite the apparent lack of personal hygiene, his clothing appears to be in good condition, and he wears an expensive watch. It can mean only one thing - this person is the CEO of a software company. "I mean look at you all covered in blood and shit and just walking around like nothing happened and shit. Man you must be some kind of superhero!"

"Oh no," I interrupt, before he can say "and shit" again, "I am but a humble servant of the chaos lords... and shit." When in Rome, you know.

"I want to be your sidekick man!"

"Sidekick, yes, well come over here into this dark alley and we'll talk about that."

"Sure man."

A quick sidekick, or at least a kick to the side of the head, later... I find a tap and use his clothes to clean all the blood off my superhero uniform, then pick half a kilo of glass from myself, check my new gold watch, and head for Chaos Point 402.

It is time to go home.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #3

There is more than one way to skin a cat. I counted up to twenty, but then I ran out of cats.

Henry's Windows XP Linux review

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

I am also an expert on all things computer related. Now I am going to test Microsoft's brand new operating system, Windows XP. I am very excited about this because I have heard it is the best Linux distribution available today.

Getting Windows XP
This guy in a fancy suit comes up to me in the street and threatens legal action if I do not give him four hundred dollars. The flamethrower embedded in my forearm roars into action, reducing him to a small pile of sticky ash on the sidewalk. Somehow this CD has rolled free, so I take it home with me.

Hardware
I don't have a spare computer to install this fine operating symptom on. I consider using my laptop but it has really important stuff on it that I don't want to risk losing. Instead I break into the neighbour's house, grab some cold pizza from the fridge, and settle down at his computer.

The computer is small, black, and has some writing on the front of it. The brand name appears to be DVDRW, whatever that means.

Installation

When I get there the computer is already running, so I pop the CD in and restart the system by pulling the power cable from the back and re-inserting it. This is a much faster way of restarting that I have just discovered. If you were a superhero you'd be able to think of clever things like this too.

It says "Press any key to boot from CD". After careful consideration I determine that the best key to press would be the spacebar. There's a few blue screens with stuff written on them, then it gets to this one that says "Welcome to Setup". I press Enter to make it go away.

Next I come to what's called a "Windows XP Licensing Agreement". It is weird. I do not understand it at all, so I phone my legal guy and read it out to him. Some time later he calls back and explains to me exactly what the license means.

I remove the CD, and microwave it for several minutes. Meanwhile there is the sound of metal being violently torn asunder as I use my superhuman strength to rip the neighbour's computer open and in a deep and unfathomable rage do destroy each component in turn by crushing them with my bare hands, after which I use my psycho-electric powers to reduce what remains to a bizarrely twisted lump of semi-molten slag. Perhaps the house is also contaminated. I burn it to the ground, just to be sure. Am I being too cautious? I think not.

Using Windows XP
Are you out of your mind?

Conclusion
This CD is extremely dangerous. Destroy on sight and sterilize the immediate area with a great big beautiful fire.

Henry advises extreme caution.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Great Battles of Henry #1

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

At sixteen years my powers were in a state of continual flux such that my control was at times sorely tested, particularly those cosmic x-ray abilities. Strangely enough these powers malfunctioned most often when in the company of sixteen year old girls.

Into my life at this time came the first in a long line of dastardly enemies, a supervillian of the highest order, "The Great Umbrello". Umbrello, or "Ken" as he was known at school, posessed the power to control minds, and also the power to fly using only an umbrella for propulsion. Actually that looked kind of funny.

On this day I had tracked him to a bank, where I believed he intended to rob an armoured car. As the vehicle approached Ken drifted in on his umbrellochute and landed beside the driver's side door. He appeared to speak with the armoured car guys, at which point they both exited the vehicle and wandered aimlessly off down the street.

"Halt Umbrello, you dastardly fiend!" I leapt out from my hiding place and challenged the evil creature, "I will foil your evil plan using my superhuman strength and intelligence! And do not try any of your absurd mind-control tricks on me, fool, for my enormous brain shall easily resist."

"Henry, it's good to see you."

"Quick," I suggested urgently, "Into the armoured car - we must get out of here to someplace safe where I can protect you. Master."

"Ok, if you insist, but I was reallly looking forward to trying out my mind control powers on you first."

"No time." I drove my master and his rightful gains to his hideout, cleverly avoiding pursuit by going really really fast and not stopping for red lights or anything.

"Now how are we going to get this open?" Master Umbrello stood regarding the armoured car with a studied look of studying.

"Fear not master, I will use my electropsychic powers to melt the doors!" I slapped him on the shoulder in a comradely fashion. "Oh bugger," I cursed unbecomingly as his charred and lifeless corpse collapsed to the ground, "Damn electropsychic powers!"

"Damn electropsychic powers!" I cursed helplessly as I accidentally blasted the doors off the armoured car.

"Damn muscular powers!" I cursed despairingly, as my malfunctioning super-strength caused me to accidentally make off with a large quantity of cash.

The Wisdom of Henry #2

Nobody knows the trouble I 've seen, except for my therapist. And several readers, and possibly the pope, because he talks to God. How come the pope can talk to God, but when I say there are voices in my head they want to lock me up?

If you hear voices, keep it to yourself. Trust me, I'm a superhero.

Henry and Infinite Chaos

In the endless instant between realities I wonder what bizarre world I will experience on the other side. If the dimension I am about to enter represents the end goal of the Robotic League of Chaos and their awful minions, then it must surely be an insane barrage of randomness beyond even my own twisted dreams.

I exit into a formless grey mass of un-solid, un-gaseous, non-liquid that stretches beyond infinity, leaving only myself and the trans-dimensional portal to break the monotony. I am drifting slowly away from the portal.

In what may appear to the untrained eye to be a panic, I twist and struggle and strain and twist and repeat myself in a vain attempt to arrest, and if possible reverse, my trajectory. This has no beneficial effect, and may in fact be hastening my departure.

I call out for help, but this serves only to strike a deeper note of fear into my soul as my huge booming voice falls into infinity as though it is the merest whisper, leaving silence so immediate as to deny the possibility of an echo. But I am Henry the Adequate, superhero, and I will not succumb to this terror. I will rise above and beyond the despair that tears at my brain, though every atom of my being cries out for relief from the eternal greyness!

I curl up in a ball and cry like a baby.

"Hello?" A male voice filled with wonder and disbelief responds to my clever attempt at gaining attention. Lucky I am such a fine actor. "Is somebody there?"

"It is I, Henry the Adequate, superhero!" I feel much better knowing that there is somebody here to save me - I mean somebody for me to save. "Where are you?"

"Is there still such a thing as location? Wait...." He pauses for what seems like an eternity, so that I begin to wonder if there had ever been a voice. That voice had seemed vaguely familiar. I am uncertain why. "Ah, I think I am aware of your form and beingness now. How could a mindless imbercile such as yourself have come to be here?"

"Old man, is that you?"

"Do I know you, Henry the Adequate, twit?"

"You do not know me, but I know you," I respond cryptically, so as not to give away all that I have discovered to the stranger.

"Oh, I see. You came through a portal from the DRI which sits at the nexus of all universes. No doubt you met another me there."

Um... It is most wise of me to share my knowledge freely. "In that reality you were blind."

"Oh no, I was never blind - just enjoyed touching things. Now there is nothing to touch, or see." There is a tremendous sadness in his ancient voice.

"Where is everybody else?"

"I am alone. My body was the last object in this universe to fade into chaos."

"This is chaos?"

"Infinite chaos reduces to infinite uniformity. This is the first law of the multiverse. Do they not have Chaos Theory on your world?"

"How is it that you survived without your body?" I am immediately suspicious. Does he think he can pull the wool over my eyes so easily? Ha! Henry the Adequate is nobody's fool.

"Perhaps I did not. Perhaps you are still curled up in a ball crying while your mind slowly evaporates into insanity."

"That was an act. I was never really crying."

He does not respond. The oppressive silence presses in on me once more like a big heavy sort of thing on my chest. I curl up into a ball and...

"Nah, just screwing with your mind," he laughs as though something slightly funny has occurred, "and a most unsatisfying experience it was too. Whoever says size doesn't matter has not met Henry the Adequate."

He is right of course. People are such fools.

"How can I return to the portal?"

"Well Newton's third law says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction..."

Of course. I fire my flamethrower, pointing it directly away from my objective. The mighty beast roars furiously as it disgourges massive quantities of flaming fuel.

"... but Newton's laws have become unreliable of late, so that almost certainly will not work."

Strangely enough this fails to work. I suspect that the laws of physics have been somehow altered in this place.

"The only thing we can rely on here are the laws of chaos." He falls silent for a moment, as I watch the empty black square of nothingness drift slowly away. "The Law of Attraction states than a mass of pure chaos will be attracted to orderly objects so as to thereby absorb them. If you can become pure chaos..."

"Become chaos?" He must be insane. My enormous brain churns at the thought of such an undertaking. I am the opposite of chaos. I am the champion of good and order and law, and pizza. How can I become all that I have fought against lo these many days? I cannot. I will not. I will fight this with every morsel of tasty braininess at my disposal, while simultaneously calculating the probability of a further attempt with my flamethrower being successful and also searching for a true and workable solution to this insane dilemma. I draw on all of the immense logical abilities of my super intellect as well as my not-inconsequential creativity, and at the same time cast about for some form of divine intervention...

"Yes that's the way."

Somehow I am hurled forcefully through the trans-dimensional portal.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The First Day of Christmas

"Sign here."

I signed, foolishly. I was only twenty then, and had not yet come fully into my super powers. "So where's the parcel?"

"Just there."

"You mean behind that enormous tree?"

Where was I going to put a tree? At the time I'd been renting a flat with a couple of other up and coming superheroes. Well they were university students, at least. We cut a hole in the ceiling so the tree could fit, and everyone was happy for a while. The tree provided fruit and shade, although that damn bird did tend to crap on the carpet.

Then it started to rain, and we were not so happy. Then mushrooms started to grow in the carpet, and all was well again, for a time. Then the tree was struck by lightning, causing a fire and much destruction of our meagre belongings. On a more positive note we did enjoy a delicious roast chicken that night, although nobody remembered cooking it - possibly due to the mushrooms.

Then for no good reason we were evicted by our evil landlord.

If anybody attempts to give you a partridge in a pear tree, thank them sincerely and back slowly away until you have reached a safe distance. Then lob a hand grenade in their general direction and head for the hills.

Henry advises extreme caution.

Henry and the Fourth Sally

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

On the move again, I am only a few blocks from my objective when I come upon a chaos point that appears to be abandoned. It is labelled "Chaos Point 412 - Complete". Does this mean that the Robot League have achieved their objective here?

"They steal from other dimensions," the old man had explained. "They murder, steal, cause mayhem, destruction, sedition, civil wars, and the invention of the atomic bomb, fractional reserve banking, and 'reality television'. Their true purpose in all of this is the spreading of chaos throughout the multiverse under the tenets of Chaos Theory."

"Chaos theory? Deterministic systems exhibiting the characteristics of randomness?"

"No, no. Chaos therory." And then he started quoting some unfamiliar science. "Chaos is good. Chaos rules! All things come to he who causes the most significant quantum ruptures in the space time vortex. Hail Chaos." This is clearly not the same chaos theory that I learned in preschool.

I melt the lock with my electropsychic powers, slide the door open, and creep inside, the only sound that of me dictating these notes. To the control room, and I examine the dials, switches, and computer terminals.

After half an hour of careful and exhaustive study during which my enormous brain analyses all of the billions of possible combinations and permutations of the problem before me to come up with the optimum solution... After all of this I reach out carefully and press the large green button labelled "Start".

Lights blaze, terminals hum, outside the control room the floor becomes a teeming black mass of nothingness.

I weld the door to the outside world closed and turn to face the unknown. I prepare to sally forth by offering a prayer to the great spagetti monster, and by using my super-flexibility to kiss my own arse goodbye. I am uncertain of why this is supposed to be helpful.

Resolute in my resolve I study the swirling emptiness where, thanks to my tremendous powers of deduction, and possibly the words of the wise man, I am certain a world other than my own awaits. Then bravely, and with grim determination grimmer than the grimmest determination possible to a mere mortal such as yourself, I step into the void.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Wisdom of Henry #1

Owning a flamethrower means never having to say you're sorry.
Love means never having to wear a condom.
Faith means never having to think for yourself.
Being a superhero means never having skidmarks on your underwear.
Being insane means never having to say "Help my brain is itchy", but you can if you want to.

Henry in Wonderland - part 3

The wise old man pours two cups of tea, sits gingerly, and sighs with the pleasure of whatever is currently pleasing him. "Why would your world send a mindless imbercile such as yourself to confront the League of Chaos?"

Clearly he has mistaken me for somebody else, probably due to his enfeebled state, or his blindness, or a strange and wonderous capacity for un-truth seeing. "My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero," I explain carefully and clearly, just in case he is also deaf.

"I suppose you would like me to tell you about the Chaos Lords, Henry the Adequate."

"Sure." Of course with my massive intellect I could no doubt work it out for myself, but the tea is nice, and I need to hide out until the coast is clear anyway.

"This DRI is at a nexus - a convergeance of the various space-time vortices. From here it is theoretically possible to access all realities."

"Sorry, DRI? Direct Rendering Infrastructure?"

"Dimensional Reality Instance. Anyway...".

"And GLX is?"

"Some kind of car. Listen. The Robotic League of Chaos arose here several decades ago. Some say they came from another DRI. Others insist that they were designed by the same scientists who developed the first Chaos Point. Since all knowledge here is controlled by the Chaos Lords, this may remain a mystery."

"So, why are you telling me all of this?" For some reason I am getting a very strange feeling in my left hand lobe. Perhaps it is the oddness of this adventure finally catching up with me. Perhaps it is my super-senses tingling a warning of impending danger. Or perhaps it is because I have watched this scene in every bad movie ever made. Scene Three: A helpful stranger explains to our hero everything he needs to know.

Ha! It matters not. I am Henry the Adequate, superhero, and I will not be stymied by mere danger, or bad writing. I will triumph over this evil, just as I have triumphed over all others.

"... and that is how you can defeat the League of Chaos. Are you listening?"

Uh... "Yeah, sure, got all of that. There's just one thing..."

"What is it?"

"What did GLX mean again?"

The wise old man is silent for a moment, with an odd look of intense comprehension on his face. "Do you have a sidekick I can explain this to?"

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Henry's Damn Ubuntu Review - Part 2

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

This is part two of my fantastic review of Ubuntu 5.10. In part one we discovered that this version of the operating symptom does not work on older computers with megaraid controllers. We also discovered that it doesn't work all that well on one that has been hacked into smallish pieces with a very large axe.

Now it is time for a second attempt, for as we all know Henry the Adequate is no quitter.

Hardware
A friends gave me this "Pentium three" computer. Well ok he didn't "give" it to me exactly. More like loaned. Ok, so he left it with me for safekeeping while he's away on business. Apparently it contains extremely inportant and sensitive information of some kind. Which reminds me, what the hell did I do with those backup tapes of his?

Anyway, it has a CD thing, a floppy thing, some buttons and lights and is much smaller and quieter than the Dell Powerdge I used in part one.

Installation
I stick the CD in the drive. I have recently discovered that it is possible to do this without dismantling the computer and CD drive. I should probably publish this discovery somewhere, since not everybody has my enormous intellect. All you need to do is rip the front off the CD drive and then, if you do it just right, you can jam the CD right in there.

So up comes the pretty Ubuntu screen, same as before, and I start hitting Enter repeatedly, just like before. This time I come to a screen that has some stuff about partitioning on it, only now there is an option to "Erase entire disk". This sounds like a good idea, so I select that one.

Then pretty soon it's doing stuff, and there's a kind of a red bar thing going accross the screen and it seems to be taking a while, so I go and do something else. On my return I get this "Select timezone" thing. The tricky bit here is that the up and down arrow keys move the red bit up and down, which changes your selection. Nifty, isn't it.

Then I get to "Set Up User and Passwords". I use "Henry" and "Henry" because you need something really easy to remember so that it's secure. You know, otherwise you'd have to write down the password, and that's not secure now is it.

Then there's a bit of other stuff going on. Apparently something that's very Apt at this stage of the process. At least that's what it says.

Wooo, the cd just popped out. I grab it before it hits the floor, then press Enter and the computer restarts and it goes into doing something called "installing packages". Didn't it already do this?

Eventually I come to "Configuring Xserver-Xorg" whatever that means. I hit Enter, and it's back to "Installing Packages" again. How many times does it need to do this? Weird. This is taking ages and ages, so I hit the computer a few times with my axe - nothing too hard - just to give it a sort of kick start. I've found that this really helps.

Using Ubuntu
Suddenly I'm at this brownish screen and it's asking me for a username. I type Henry, then Henry for my password. Then I'm into the system. Ok, now to see what kind of secret foreign government documents are hidden on this CD...

But wait! There's this thing that pops up, and it says there are updates available and do I want to download them. Freaky. I say no because I don't want to risk losing any of the data on my friend's computer.

Time must be running short - presumably the CD will self destruct before too long - so I start looking for those elusive foreign secrets. Clicking on "Places" this thingy pops down and I see "Search for files". Excellent, I'll try that.

Now I have to choose where to search. The first option is "Home". That can't be right - if the document were at my place all along, what what I need this CD for? I select "File System", since I'm looking for secret files. First I search for "porn", just as a test, to see how it works. Instantly it says "no files found". This is way way way too quick, so I suspect the computer is lying to me. I type "Give me porn now!" This does not work either. Then I get really cunning and search for "pron" instead. Still no luck. I notice that I can search for files that contain certain text, so I look for "secret government stuff", and "really secret", and "boobies". This takes a lot longer, still without success.

It is beginning to seem as if this Ubuntu thing might also be a dead-end. I look to see what else is on it. There is something called an Open Office (actually it appears there are 2.0 of them) and a lot of other stuff (what is a Gimp anyway?). At first all the stuff seems to work really well. There is a movie player, but it won't play any of my porn... uh.... educational WMV files. Damn. This is frustrating. Actually it is kind of annoying. Actually it is a little bit infuriating.

I take my axe and smash the computer into many small pieces.

Conclusion
This Ubuntu 5.10 may be one damn fine operating symptom, but it doesn't seem to contain any plans to soviet nuclear facilities, and it won't play my, um, instructional videos. Also it caused my friend's computer to spontaneously explode into tiny fragments for no readily apparent reason. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Coming Soon: Henry's Damn Windows XP Review. Also, Henry's Damn VAX Review, and Henry's Babbage Analytical Engine Review.

Interpreting Henry:
This is the boring bit. If you just want a laugh please stop reading here. Actually if you came here looking for a laugh you're probably kicking yourself by this point.

Ubuntu would not install on the first test machine due to issues with the megaraid controller (see Part 1). It has been suggested on the Ubuntu forums that the solution is to install the 5.04 version, then upgrade to 5.10 while keeping the older kernel. While I would be prepared to do this if necessary, it was a bit beyond Henry.


Installing on the second test machine (a Pentium 3/733 with 256MB ram, Soundblaster Live, Geforce2 GTS, Realtec NIC) was dead easy - even Henry could do it. Afterwards I configured Apt to use the Marillat repositories, and installed the w32codecs - trivial, if a bit much for Henry. Nvidia 3d drivers are available in the Ubuntu repositories.

PCLinuxOS users who are now crowing about their distro, and how it includes every driver and codec ever invented: Big deal. This is not rocket science, chaps. Millions of clueless Windows users (present company excluded, naturally) have to hunt down drivers for their hardware every day of the week, and they manage somehow to do so with no more tools at their disposal than three neurones and Google.

Ubuntu on the P3 seems fast and responsive. Look and feel is excellent. Package selection is good, with just about everything else available in the Universe and Multiverse repositories.

Ubuntu is one fine piece of work.
- Ben

Friday, December 02, 2005

Henry in Wonderland - Part 2

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

I set out to explore this strange world, after first noting that the building I emerged from is labelled "Chaos Point 402".

The buildings and streets are strangely not unlike our own. In fact some of them appear to be identical to those at home. Perhaps this is some kind of parallel dimension, such as you might find on the other side of a trans-dimensional portal. Interestingly, in this world my local bank has not been reduced to a pile of ash and rubble. I go inside and attempt to withdraw money, but if there is a Henry the Adequate in this reality he must bank someplace else. Perhaps I am unique in all dimensions.

So I move on, pausing only to burn the bank to the ground.

As I explore I find many striking similarities between this and my own world. I even help an old lady to cross the street, but she does not appear to recognize me.

The one really significant difference, apart from the robot overlords, and the dancing pigs, and the strange hue, are those massive structures labelled as Chaos Points. I think I must get a closer look at one of those chaos points, and then head for home before somebody notices that this storyline is a complete rip-off of Sliders.

I head back toward Chaos Point 402, through which I arrived, carefully avoiding any robotic contact. I notice a mechanoid approaching from the direction I am headed, riding high and proud on its giant pink rat. Quickly I duck into the nearest store until it has passed. So swiftly and subtly do I move that not even somebody with really fast eyes can follow my actions, or detect my brilliant subtefuge.

"You cannot hide from the Robot Lords of Chaos, fool." An old man with feathers in his hair and a shimmering walking stick shambles out of the shadows. He is either blind, or he really enjoys touching things. "You are not from this world," he says as he approaches. He prods my face with his fingers for a while then announces, "I see that you are a moron."

"You are indeed wise, old man." Well, apart from the moron bit, anyway.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Henry In Wonderland

My name is Henry the Adequate, and I am a superhero.

I emerge in a large warehouse. The section of the floor below me is a pan-dimensional portal. Several massive evil looking cranes hover above it, with ropes descending into the portal, including the one I am holding onto. Fortunately I am close to the edge of the portal area. I swing and leap for solid ground, using all of my superhuman strength to propel me the full metre or two to safety. No normal human could possibly have done this.

At the far end of the building is what appears to be a control room. Hopefully I have not been detected. Using my super-magnifying ultra-xray-vision I peer through the walls of the control room. The walls yield to my powers as if they were so much clear material that does not inhibit light. Actually they are made of glass, which also helps.

There are several men bent over the controls, and overseeing them is some kind of large robotic overlord. Occasionally the evil machine strikes one or another of the men with a whip. I would feel more comfortable with this situation if the victims did not appear to be enjoying it.

I am close to the doorway, so make my way stealthily outside. Things look a little strange. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but I suspect that I am no longer on my Earth. Perhaps it is the pinkish sky, or the way the people here are all walking backwards, or the fact that the street performers doing balet only a short distance from me are pigs dressed in garter belts. Or perhaps it is a combination of all these things that eventually impinges itself on my awareness.

Suddenly a massive TV screen nearby lights up and a very serious looking robotic chap, apparently a newsreader of some kind, announces, "The Grand Chaos Lord has proclaimed that henceforth all humans will walk sideways."

I don't know where the portal has taken me, but suspect that I am a very long way from home indeed.

I wonder if they have pizza here.