The Red Door

I wrote this a couple of years ago, now. It was exam revision time and I had nothing else to do. Although short, it’s still one of the better pieces of descriptive writing I have done (or at least, I think so. My old English teacher would no doubt disagree). Critisism welcome.

I see the door. It’s just up ahead. Walking towards it, I can feel the heat slowly building on my forehead. The moment is near. As I reach for the door handle, my common sense finally kicks in and my hand pulls back, unsure of what to expect on the other side.

The door is red, of course. All doors with something scary behind them are red. It’s one of the few constants in this universe of ours. The paint is scratched around the edges, especially at floor level. Bare wood can be seen behind the paint, scratched away by dog claws, most likely. It’s a very dark wood, but that could just be age.

I knew I didn’t have to go through the door. I could just turn around and go back the way I came. But that wouldn’t be any use. I had to find out what was on the other side of this strange red door.

Dressed in my black satin PJs, I feel a bit like a Ninja, in the dead of night, creeping around the old house. It’s the fourth night I’ve been here, and the fourth night I’ve come down here to the red door. It could be the fourth night I turn around and go back to bed. But I’m not going to allow it to be so. I have to find out what is behind the red door.

I inherited the house from my now-dead father, who, along with my mother, lived here for the twenty-three years of their marriage. My mother died three years ago now, and my father just couldn’t handle life on his own. He didn’t go slowly insane or anything like that. He just got sad (a vast understatement) when he was here alone during most of the week. I came up and helped him whenever I could, but it simply wasn’t enough.

I moved in here four days ago. I was previously just renting a two-bedroom apartment in the city, using one as a studio for my painting work. I live alone. Now that I’ve moved here, I could have about five or six rooms just for painting, if I wanted. The walk-in wardrobe is larger than the bathroom in my old apartment. I’ve got the place fairly well set up now. I haven’t touched the brushes since I’ve moved in (which is rare for me, I usually can’t be kept away from them), instead I have been cleaning and repairing nearly every horizontal surface in the house, and quite a few of the vertical ones.

But there is still one room I haven’t ventured into. That would be the room behind the red door. I’m not sure what to expect behind there. It could be just another room. It could be the stairs to the basement, for all I know. But I have a feeling it is something much more insidious. Something far more interesting. The colour of the door tells me so.

I’ve pretty much decided now that I’m not going back to bed tonight until I have investigated what’s behind the red door. Like all the other nights, I’m not going to be able to get to sleep. I never asked either of my parents what was behind the door. There wouldn’t have been much point either. By the spider’s webs, it looks like the door hasn’t been opened for quite some time.

After standing staring at the door for several minutes, I slowly start forward again, my brow becoming sweaty again, reaching out for the door handle. Turning it, I hear a loud screech, obviously because the door hasn’t been opened for decades. After turning it open all the way, enduring the screeching and whining of the handle, I turn my shoulder to the door, expecting to have to give it a large shove to get open. Pushing gently with my right hand on the handle, I realise this isn’t going to be the case. It glides open freely.

Review: ASUS F3Sg Laptop

Around the end of the last financial year, I decided it would be a good idea to buy myself a laptop. So I did. I originally wanted a cheap Compaq one, simply because of it’s cheapness. But my local computer shop didn’t have any in stock. So I got an ASUS F3Sg instead. It costs about AUD $1300, and it’s pretty decent. Here’s why.

ASUS F3Sg Laptop

I’m not exactly a fan of the styling of recent ASUS laptops, and this one is no different. It’s very grey… and has holes and shapes that are perfectly designed for nothing, except getting biscuit crumbs in them. Out of the box it also comes covered in useless Intel, Nvidia and Microsoft stickers (some of which I still haven’t been able to remove). As far as bad points go though, that’s pretty much it.

To start off the list of good points, I’ll start with the screen. It’s a 15.4″ widescreen, with a resolution of 1440×900. That’s as good as the 19″ monitor sitting on my desk, and with the decreased viewing distance, it’s just as usable. I certainly wouldn’t like it any larger, as it would then be quite difficult to get into my laptop bag (and to carry around generally).

The internals also match up to my (still pretty new) desktop. 2 GiB of DDR2 memory, a Core 2 Duo processor running at 2.4GHz, and a 250GB hard drive are all very respectable. The NVidia 9300M graphics chip plays Counter Strike: Source well enough to be comparable to the 8800GT in my desktop. That said, CSS isn’t one of the latest games anymore. I fear that Call of Duty 4 would stress it a bit too much.

Multimedia is okay. The onboard speakers are utter rubbish, but then those that come with laptops generally are. The audio chip is decent, as sound quality improves immensely when a pair of Sennheiser headphones are plugged in. The laptop has an onboard microphone, but I haven’t used it. Any attempt to use it for Skype would likely result in the glorious sound of feedback.

The F3Sg also has a webcam built into the screen. Quality is fine, though when I used the driver that Windows Update found for me after a fresh install, the picture was upside down. The other nice feature this laptop has is a built-in digital TV Tuner. Apart from the fact that Sesame Street has gone downhill, I don’t have much to report on that… it’s fairly ordinary, and suffers from the same problems (bad reception, worse content) that all other TV tuners suffer from.

Battery life is around 2.5 hours on the most conservative setting. Compared to the 5 hours an old G4 iBook of mine used to do, this is pitiful. But the iBook had nowhere near as many goodies. The F3Sg also burns a hole in your pants if you actually use it as a laptop, so it’s best to use it on a table. At 2.95kg, it’s just in the region of being carryable without breaking your shoulder. The large screen (and large battery to compensate) would be the cause of this.

As with all out-of-the-box computers, the included software on all ASUS laptops is sub optimal. Offerings include Nero, Norton Internet Security, and other such horrors. One thing I can say is, though, the drivers are rock solid. In two months I’ve never had any bluescreens or crashes, which is a miracle for a Windows-based machine.

To sum up: As far as Windows-based laptops go, this one is really good. I certainly wouldn’t have it over a MacBook Pro, but then, no sane person would. It has enough power to do all the things I want, and still remains light and small enough to carry to and from work. The only real downside as far as usability is concerned is the battery life. 4 Stars.