Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why some alarm clock designs are (or aren't) good ideas

This post over at the Good Old Days blog has reminded me of an alarm clock I used to have -- one of the most effective, HATED, and ultimately ABUSED alarm clocks I've ever had. The alarm clock in question looked a lot like THIS (but digital, not analog):

For those of you who don't know, THAT, boys and girls, is a DALEK. Daleks are the greatest bad guys in the history of the long-running British science fiction TV series Doctor Who. In fact, it's safe to say that without Daleks, Doctor Who may not have survived the 1960s and become the global pop-culture phenomenon that it is today.

Don't let the silly salt-shaker exterior and plunger arm fool you. Daleks are DAMN scary! A big part of what makes them scary is the voices -- nasty, distorted, gravely, demanding voices that scream things like, "YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!!" Or, "YOU WILL OBEY!!!" And, brother, when the Daleks scream things like that, they MEAN it.

So, the alarm clock. A friend of mine thought I'd really like this alarm clock, given that I've always been a Doctor Who fan. I admit the clock WAS very cool. However, neither my friend nor I took into account just how traumatic it would be to be woken up by a Dalek.

I had the thing set, ready to wake me up for school. It was sitting on my nightstand, right next to my pillow. The lousy thing went off at 6:00 in the morning, screaming VERY loudly:



My survival instincts kicked in, and my fist came down on that Dalek like a sledgehammer. Damn near broke a finger doing that. Oh, sure, I was awake, but I was PISSED, and IN PAIN. Not only that, I'd just broken my present from my friend. Little gray plastic pieces were everywhere. My new clock lasted less than 24 hours after I received it.

I haven't owned anything Dalek since.

Oh, but now I have a much WORSE (or BETTER) alarm clock than the Dalek. It's one of those old ones that plays a CD, and you can program the clock to use a specific track from the CD when the alarm goes off. I once programmed it to wake up Mr. Sea with Frank Yankovic's Greatest Polka Hits. Amazingly enough, the clock survived!


snell said...

Thank you for saving us from the covert Dalek infiltration...

Erica said...

I own:
(1) Dalek-shaped salt and pepper shakers
(2) Dalek-topped wine bottle cork
(3) Mr. and Mrs. Dalek from atop our wedding cake (bought little figurines and added a top hat and veil!)

(All these were purchased online from the UK, and invariably led to a call from the credit card company to see if I knew my card was being used for overseas purchases.)

While I would love to have a Dalek alarm clock too, having it wake you up with death threats is really just bad design :-D Better than having it zap you, though...

SallyP said...

Using polka songs to wake up Mr. Sea is far more fiendish than anything the Daleks can come up with!

I salute you!

Sea_of_Green said...

You're welcome, Snell. ;-)

Erica, you are SO RIGHT about that. As annoying as it was to have a Dalek screaming at me, it's a heckuva lot better than being blasted. You're a braver woman than I am!

Sally, it's a shame, the things I've put that man through. It really, really is a shame. ;-)

Siskoid said...


OBEY!! OBEY!!!! OBEY!!!!!!

Best. Dalek story. Ever.

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