Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Archive for April, 2010

A box of nostalgia

Posted by Trixter on April 21, 2010

When I was three years old, my parents moved to the house they would spend the next 36 years in, which was not coincidentally the house I spent my youth and teen years in (minus a stint in New Jersey from age 6 to 11).  For almost two decades I have not lived in that house, but during a recent visit I was told I still had a box of stuff to take away.  It took a few minutes, but I found this mythical box of memories and took it home.

For those who are curious what a slice of the mid 1980s looks like, this box of my crap contained, in no particular order:

  • A Rolf muppet doll that I got for Christmas 1978
  • A folder of my entire 8th grade English assignments (Steve Littel, for those who attended Washburne Junior High and are keeping score), some handwritten in cursive and some typed on a typewriter, but most¬† printed in 9-pin dot matrix.¬† The standout?¬† An analysis of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin In The Sun”, critiquing how Mama both was and was not a constructive influence on the family.¬† I was thirteen.¬† (I only got a 78% on that paper, but it begs the question:¬† Is it better to get straight “A”s in a normal English class, or mediocre grades in an advanced class?)
  • Three Bloom County anthology books
  • My eight-grade Washburne Junior High yearbook of 1985, complete with lots of signed notes for me to “keep practicing my nerd powers” and “keep on breaking” (breakdancing).
  • The supplement “10 Starter Programs from Family Computing” by Joey Latimer.¬† (I learned about a decade ago that nearly every single BASIC program ever to appear in Family Computing was written by Latimer — and that his primary hobby was music, not programming.)¬† All programs were written in Applesoft BASIC with additional pages translating them to the built-in BASICs for Atari, C64 and VIC-20, TI 99/4a, Timex Sinclair 1000, and TRS-80.¬† I guess IBM owners were out of luck.
  • An Atari 2600 Star Raiders cartridge
  • Mattel Electronics Basketball (with missing battery cover, of course)
  • King’s Quest II hint book, with every single “invisiclue” answer visible.¬† The fun part?¬† I only uncovered a few answers back then.¬† So I guess we know what happens to invisiclues if you never make them visible:¬† They fade to visibility after a few decades.

The only downside to this onrush of nostalgia is that I have Paul McCartney’s “Spies Like Us” song running around in my head, as it was one memory dredged up during the process.¬† Spies Like Us is not only the worst song McCartney has ever written or performed, it is probably the worst song of 1986.¬† And that was a year that graced us with Eddie Murphy’s “Party All The Time”, Dream Academy’s “Life in a Northern Town”, and Sly Fox’s “Let’s Go All The Way”.

Once I get something stuck in my head, it can last for a few days or a few weeks.  Heaven help me if I get Lady Gaga stuck in my head again; I was fighting the urge to dive for a gun after only a few minutes.  Imagine three weeks of that shit.

Posted in Entertainment, Family, Vintage Computing | 7 Comments »

Pharmacokinetics

Posted by Trixter on April 16, 2010

Signs that it might be time to look into fluoxetine or suitable derivative:

  • You spend hours playing Monopoly Party (xbox) until you can beat it with all AI players set to maximum difficulty
  • Food no longer tastes good
  • You consume an entire box of ho-hos in one day (see previous note)
  • You lack the drive to work on hobbies
  • You lack the drive to work on anything
  • You hit “refresh” on your empty RSS feed aggregator with the frequency of a lab rat requesting a pellet
  • The Sugarcubes¬† keep coming into rotation on your ipod shuffle

And yet I fear I may lose the ability to hyperfocus, which is one of my primary advantages over those around me.¬† One might say it’s my only (un)fair advantage.

Damn good thing I don’t like alcohol.¬† And that a three-day weekend is coming up.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »