The BBS Era

In the early 1980’s I was deep into my Atari 8 bit computer stage. When I got to university, I wanted to use it for papers and other things I had to write (this was pre-IBM PC) so I needed a printer. I bought a solid Epson dot matrix printer, and to connect it to the Atari. I needed an IO expander, so I bought the Atari 850, which plugged into the computer’s SIO port, and it provided serial (RS232) and Parallel ports for printers.

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Old computers – the remembrance vs. the reality (the Atari era)

image of an Atari 800 computer

I have been a computer enthusiast for a long time, having getting my first Atari 800 back in 1980. I had used a Commodore Pet in the mid 70s as part of my “gifted” program in elementary school, and unstructured time with the Apple II+ in high school.

I still have a lot of fond memories of that early era. But putting on my logical hat, and truly remembering the reality of these experiences. Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

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Secret Pleasures: Writing and Pens

classic close up draw expensive

Little known fact that when I was in college, each year, I took great pleasure each semester going to the local stationer’s shop and buying supplies. Mechanical pencils, high quality fine point pens (all the better to write and rewrite equation sheets) and other beautiful things. Often from German companies, high quality pads of paper.

It wasn’t necessary for my success, but there is something very pleasing about high quality paper, and writing instruments.

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Movie Review: Night of the Living Dead

I grew up in the SF Bay Area, and one of the things that helped make me who I am was a Saturday night slot of horror films broadcast on the local channel, KTVU called “Creature Features” (not to be confused with the series of the same name). This was a weekly show of horror films hosted by Bob Wilkins, a glasses wearing, cigar smoking aficionado of the genre of horror that was growing.

The one movie that I remember from this time was the original “Night of the Living Dead”, one of the first “zombie” movies, it remains an exemplar of the style.

Shot on 16mm B&W, it is a low budget, yet entertaining film. The premise of the near dead coming back to life, chasing the protagonists into a house, where they regroup with others who are in the same situation.

It is rather crude, but an effective movie, well executed, and a timeless classic.

What made me think of this? I heard that a high quality 4K print was made into a Blu-ray disc, and that combined with nostalgia made it an easy impulse purchase.

Sure, I could have streamed it, but I like having the physical media, so it is now in my library

The Lowly Distortion Pedal

Many times in life, you will go full circle. In the way back time, after my junky – impossible to play – Montgomery Ward guitar and amp got shitcanned, and a persnickety Ibanez V that was nearly impossible to keep in tune, and a lil’ Crate practice amp replaced it, I have been on a search for tone.

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Annual Shutdown

gray and black dslr camera beside sun hat and sunglasses

I work at a place that at some point in the past decided that the week between Christmas and New Year was pretty much a wash, and decided to just shut down for the week (usually with a couple of extra days depending on how the holidays land.

This year, there were three days of “work” the week of January 2, and like many of my peers, I succumbed to the pressure to just add the three days and make it a full two weeks off.

It is now Monday, January 2, 10 days into this 17 days off, and I can state confidently that:

  1. It was the right choice. Sure, a week off is nice, but it takes about 5 days to unwind, and that leaves just a few days to really enjoy the time off.
  2. Being sick for the first week of the shutdown sucked. I picked up an old fashioned cold in early December, that settled in as a non-producing cough, a bronchitis. Boo.
  3. All the Tech projects that I had planned went much smoother than expected.
  4. Taking time off when the whole company is shut down is amazeballs.

And I still have 7 more days to relax.

This is the way to do it!

Nostalgia Strikes

low angle photo of volkswagen kombi

Something happens when you hit middle (or late-ish middle) age. You have these fond memories of how things used to be. I am no different. My fond memories are around two subjects, guitars, and motorcycles. Activities that I used to participate in as often as I breathed. Both are either memories, or fading.

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Appalling Racism – Breakfast at Tiffany’s

image - Audrey_Hepburn_in_Breakfast_at_Tiffanys

One of my favorite all-time movies is Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Sure, it is somewhat corny, but it is a genuinely fun romp, Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard are outstanding lead actors, and the story is fun and feel good.

But one thing has always bugged the fuck out of me. Mr Yunioshi, Holly’s upstairs neighbor, ostensibly a Japanese photographer. A fine character. That is not the problem. It is the casting of fucking Mickey Rooney in this role.

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