Monday, December 04, 2023

Every Five Years

I bought a new computer. I do this about every five years. This new computer is a Mac Mini with a zippy M2 chip. I even sprung for the outrageously priced 16GB RAM upgrade. The arrogance of Apple's pricing is galling. If I was building a new gaming PC, RAM would be about half the cost. But, I'm parked in the Apple biosphere. It's a pricey neighborhood and Tim Cook knows we'll all pay to stay. 

I'm thinking about all the computers I've owned. I remember my first computer. My parents bought me an Atari 800. I have flashes of memory from that day. We were at a Venture (the 80's equivalent of a Target) and I'm really not sure how it all went down. I do recall feeling shocked and a little mystified as we put the box into the car. I didn't ask them for a computer. I wasn't pining for one or saving up to buy one. The folks just decided I needed one. It must have been a pressing issue because the Atari 800 wasn't cheap. It was a major expenditure. 

Maybe they thought my future depended on riding the tech wave that would wash away all the youngsters who couldn't do this:

10 FOR X=1 to 10

I never learned to program. I didn't even use it as an extremely expensive typewriter. It was primarily a console for a single, 8-bit game called Star Raiders. 

I'm guessing my parents were disappointed in the return on their investment. However, the Atari 800 did make a mark. It left me with the idea that I'd always have a computer in my life. Like a TV or a toaster, you really didn't want to live in a house that didn't have one. There was a gap between my teens and my twenties when I didn't really own a computer (aside from the old Atari 800 that was gathering dust) but I always had access to one. 

Now, here I am, typing on the latest iteration of my computer journey. There's a lot of hardware that's come and gone as I've progressed from the Atari 800 to this Mac Mini. In fact, a great deal of it currently resides in our mechanical room. In fact, if you need an old MacBook or laptop, let me know. Maybe we can work something out. I'm sure, regardless of how old the computer may be, you'd be able to do some word processing or crank out a spreadsheet - or - maybe, you could download an emulator and play Star Raiders. 

Monday, October 30, 2023

At Least Once. . .

It's been so long since I've posted that I feel I should offer an update. Something like those recap letters you sometimes get from people when they send you a Christmas card. I like getting those letters. They're packed with good news, bad news, funny anecdotes, modest brags and warm wishes. I always thought that I might give one a try some year but I know I wouldn't be able to avoid doing something weird. I know it would definitely embarrass Deb and probably read like a cry for help to everyone else. 

Things have changed and there is plenty of good and bad news, some funny stuff to share and maybe a couple of things worth bragging about. When I start thinking about it all, I realize I don't really want to sit and try to organize it all (chronological? by family member? by significance?). Not to mention the idea that I have to make it at least a little entertaining and that's where it would surely come off the rails. I don't think it would be worth the need to think of a reassuring reply to people asking, "Are you alright?"

One thing I will share is that I'm preoccupied with getting our new cat, Charlie to like me. We've had her for six months and it's clear she loves Deb. She's affectionate with Julia, tolerates Allie and treats me like she's heard I have plans to eat her. 

I wanted to name Charlie, "Microwave" but got voted down. I did get my way when I named our orange cat, Rabies. Every time the girls share that our cat's name is Rabies they always explain that I'm the one who named him - as if there's something to be ashamed of. There's no shame in his name. It's awesome and it's clear he knows it. My wife and kids are insecure. My cat is not. 

Turns out, "Charlie" is one of the most common names for a cat. So now I'm sharing my house with a cat that has a bland, pedestrian name and a hateful attitude. She vexes me. Charlie (I prefer to call her, "Chuck") sits in Deb's lap and narrows her eyes at me while she accepts pets and kisses from my wife. I reach my hand over to offer some love and she jumps down and trots away while I try not to let Deb see the tears well up in my eyes. 

I put in the work. I feed the cats in the evening and now Chuck knows she won't get her Sheba Perfect Portion of Beef Pate until I pick her up and cuddle with her for exactly 30 seconds. It is a small but significant victory. 

The part that really sucks is Chuck wouldn't be in our house if it wasn't for me getting the ball rolling on adopting a cat. No one can dispute that I am the reason she landed in a warm, loving home and yet I'm the one she's going to murder on the stairs one day. 

So, that's my one post for the year of 2023. I knew I had to do it at least once or I'd feel as if I've completely abandoned this project. I'm not there yet. In fact, I often think of things I'd like to share here. Like this picture of hateful Chuck and her one, true love: