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The future is now but it's also unfriendly

TECHNOLOGY has reached a point where it's possible to control your entire home using one remote, says Philip Tsui, CEO and Chairman of Skylink Group. ACT I Evening.

TECHNOLOGY has reached a point where it's possible to control your entire home using one remote, says Philip Tsui, CEO and Chairman of Skylink Group.


Evening. Middle-aged woman, rolling a suitcase behind her, enters her dark North Shore home and walks into her kitchen as the telephone rings. She squints suspiciously at the call display, then presses speakerphone so she can speak to the caller while taking off her coat.

Woman: Hello? Man: Hi, hon, welcome home! The kids and I just got to Whistler, we're at Earls, and we've ordered our appetizers. Sorry we aren't there to greet you, but a free weekend here was too good an opportunity to miss. Hey, there's a surprise for you! While you were away, I bought SkylinkHome's Wireless Control System! So instead of going around turning on lights, turning on the TV, etcetera, you can just sit down in the leather chair and press a few buttons and everything will be done for you! I've already recycled all the other remotes so there will be way less clutter. It's really easy, and I've left the remote plugged into the wall by the coffee table and the instruction manual beside it. Oh - our food just arrived - gotta go! Call you later! (Click. Dial tone.) Woman: What the %$#&@?

Woman walks into the unlit living room, sees remote on coffee table. It consists of a white rectangle featuring the numbers one to 10, and several icons. She circles it nervously. A large, ice-cold tear forms and rolls down one cheek. Woman: (taking off glasses, staring at remote) Is there no end to his treachery?

Woman attempts to turn on lamp so she can read remote.

Lamp remains dark. She tries to turn on various floor lamps, table lamps, and overhead lamps, with no success. She seizes remote and glares at it. Woman: Oh. My. God!

Woman picks up small, thin handbook, gives it the death stare. She grabs the remote and pokes at an icon. Outside the house, the garage door opens with a clunk. Woman: S---!

Woman presses another button. Fireplace ignites. Woman presses another button. Ceiling fan whirs to life. Woman presses another button. Hip-hop music surges from the basement. Woman: (Seizes telephone, dials Stanley's cellphone.) Hello? Hello? Ah, crap, voicemail. Stanley! How do I turn the m-----------g lights on with this @#$%^. Jeez, does it even turn on the coffeemaker in the basement? I smell burning coffee grounds!

Woman slams down phone, stumbles downstairs, where coffee maker, pressed up against a sleeping bag, has ignited a small fire. Woman douses flame with nearby tub of cider vinegar, unplugs coffee maker, throws it on the laundry room floor. She stabs a finger at remote, still searching for light. Washer begins filling with water for a large load as basement fan surges into action. Music switches to Alabama country station, Down-Home Patriots Hour. Bama Country 98.9 radio host: Thet's right, Toby Keith, let's brang our boys and girls right home, whirr they be-long. Comin' up, Brooks & Dunn's Only in America. Whoo-ee!

Woman shoves the remote in her pocket, covers her ears and charges upstairs. Woman: (Incredible Hulkstyle) Arrrrrrgggghhhh!

She desperately presses remote again. Outdoor lights burst on. Woman staggers onto the deck, holds the handbook under the back porch light, squinting ferociously.

Woman: F---! It's in Korean! (Seizing the phone, dialling. Yelling over the household din) Hello, Stanley? What, voicemail again? Stanley, if you value your cojones whatsoever you will pick up this damn phone right now and tell me how to turn the m-----------g lights on before I come up there and-"

Woman has been randomly pressing buttons on the remote. Garage door rises, closes, rises, closes, rises, closes. Living-room radio bursts on in the middle of a CBC radio documentary about animal castration techniques, with the sound of unsuspecting bulls mooing in the background.

CBC radio journalist: (perkily) -but Merle Witherspoon disagrees. He's the owner of Mulespittle Creek Cattle Ranch, an hour's drive north of Saskatoon, or "60 minutes, as the cow flies," as Witherspoon puts it. He uses old school techniques but always hires a local polka band to relax the steers on what he calls "de-nackering day."

Radio blares a few stanzas of "The Chicken Dance" over the clamour of outraged bulls being turned into steers.

Woman screams, runs out of the house and into the garage, where the door is still going up and down. Remembering that she needs something, she turns to re-enter the house, but finds the remote has locked it.

She throws the remote at a curious raccoon, who begins to play with it and instantly closes the garage door, turns on the house lights and turns off both stereos, but Woman is long gone, lurching down the road in the darkness.

Woman is later located at Mulespittle Creek Cattle Ranch, happy in her work.

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