We've had a lot of changes around here since you last heard from me. A couple months ago, we got a new home computer. It's a lot different than the one we had before. Our old computer could play Ping-Pong and figure out my dad's bank balance and stuff like that, but this one actually talks to us. It's kind of spooky -- almost like there's a person inside that little box. In fact, this computer seems so human we've even given him a name. We call him "Breslin."
Breslin keeps track of all kinds of things around the house. He tells my parents when the coffee is ready and reminds me to take the garbage out. He lets us know if the grass needs watering or if the baby's crying. Breslin can operate the dishwasher, the TV, and all of our other appliances through a remote-control system. If we want him to open the garage door or turn the lights off, we just give him an order through the intercom.
Breslin is on duty day and night. He constantly checks various sensors around the house to make sure everything's all right. If a fire started or if someone tried to break into the house, he would sound an alarm.
All night long, Breslin works on the jobs we've given him during the day -- like paying bills or addressing invitations to our Halloween party. Sometimes he "talks" to other computers to find out the answers to questions we ask him. Once my brother Joey wanted to know the won-lost record of all the left-handed Yankee pitchers. Breslin called the computer at the New York Public Library and got the information for him in no time.
Every morning, about the time the sun comes up, Breslin turns off night lights around the house. In the winter, he also turns up the heat. Then he checks his orders for the day. The schedule he follows depends on the day of the week. On school days, he gets me up about 6:30. "Good morning," he says cheerily. "This is Breslin." Then he tells me the time, the temperature and what the weather's like outside. He reminds me of any appointments that day, like a babysitting job or my piano lesson. Finally he turns on my radio to my favorite station for music and the news.
Usually everything goes smoothly, but once a while my family wishes we'd never heard of Breslin. One time his clock got mixed up and he woke us up at 3:00 in the morning. Another time, we were all out in the back yard and my dad was cooking hamburgers on the grill. Dad asked Breslin to turn the patio lights on -- but instead he locked us out of the house and set off the burglar alarm. You should have seen us trying to explain that one to the police!