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By ana (Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 02:00:42 PM EST) free as in birds (all tags)
As in... Well, in my experience, there ain't any such thing as a free beer (TAANSTAAFB). So, cost-free.


There is, down the hall from my office, an odd little alcove built into the wall near the intersection of two wings of the building. At some point an electrical outlet was added. When I first worked here, there was a printer on one of the shelves in the alcove.

But really, it's the ideal place to put a microwave oven or two.

Except for the smell of popcorn or whatever wafting down the hallway, always perpetrated by somebody who's not into sharing with the natives. But that's a rant for another day.

Anyway. There tend to be several schools of thought on the proper way to use shared appliances.

Myself, I always hit "cancel" at the end of a run if there's any time left. I like having the microwaves give me two disparate opinions as to the time of day when I walk by.

Others leave some time on the clock, and/or leave the door wide open when they finish their cooking. Now in principle I can understand leaving the door open; often the odors of cooked food are still present inside the oven, and they'll dissipate faster if the door is open (however, see above under "rant for another day"). And there's the physical hazard of someone running into the open door.

But what is the value of leaving 45 unexpired seconds of cooking time on the clock? I suppose it's a commodity, in some perverse sense of the word. It costs nothing; it's easily replaced. It's a little like leaving time on a parking meter, but of course you actually paid for that, and it'll expire not long after you leave whether somebody else takes advantage or not.

In other newsments and amusements, the operating systems for the two microwave ovens are different; one's reverse Polish and the other ignores number buttons until you poke a mode button to tell it what to do with the number.

Which reminds me of a story I've probably told here before. One winterval season, the four siblings in my family came home, one by one, to discover that Mom had replaced her microwave oven since the last visit. So each morning the newest arrival would be observed placing coffee or tea into the microwave, randomly poking buttons for a few seconds, and saying, aloud, "Ah. Reverse Polish," and starting it up.

"What's that mean?" Mom demanded after a few replays. My brother the mathematician was not yet present, if I recall correctly, so he wasn't able to supply the name of the Polish mathematician who invented Polish notation, but we did the best we could.
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At my last place of work ... by lm (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 05:00:51 PM EST
... the microwave in the kitchen would count down to 0, and then stop. I took no end of mirth in opening the door precisely at zero so that the cycle wouldn't end and the counter would be stuck at 0.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
After writing this... by ana (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 07:28:08 PM EST
I was reminded of a business-card sized piece of cardboard I found in the parking lot years ago when I worked at McD's.

THIS IS A FREE TICKET

it announced.

"Not good for anything, it's just free."

And then there was an address of a campground somewhere in Kansas.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

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