When I was a kid the beginning of October is when time started to slow down. Halloween would be coming up and I always enjoyed that day. Walking around at night, collecting candy, dressed up in a costume.
Better than Halloween, though, was my birthday which comes two days after Halloween. Time would slow down. Days would take longer to get through.
After my birthday Thanksgiving makes an appearance. While there isn’t anything in the way of free gifts, there is a lot in the way of food. Glorious food! Turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and (be still my beating heart) an excess of pumpkin pie.
The end of Thanksgiving marks the end November and that wheels in the Grandaddy of a Christian home’s month. December. It marks the beginning of that King of Holidays, Christmas. And that’s when time really began to crawl; you could hear the hours lumbering by. Catalogs showed up in the mail. Emblazoned with wreaths, Christmas trees, and toys. Pages and pages of toys. It was like being on the outside of a toy store window for eternity in the comfort of your own home. I couldn’t even say how long I would flip through those pages imagining what it would be like to have even a fraction of those toys. School would let out which allowed a lot more time for catalog browsing and talking to friends about what the cool new things to have wold be. And time slowed. It took forever, forever, for Christmas to finally show up.
And then there was New Year’s Eve which, really, was an adult thing what with the champagne and all.
And then I grew up and had a family. That long, long, crawl to Christmas turned into a greased slide. There was so much to do, so much to buy, so little time to get it all done! You just want to stick your finger on the clock face to stop the hands from spinning, to get just one more hour of preparation time. Decisions needed to be made. What would be for dinner? Thank goodness for tradition. If you traditionally had turkey for Thanksgiving, then maybe it was a big ham for Christmas. Every Christmas. Yes, no thinking involved there, just work on muscle memory and instinct. No wonder families have traditions.
But it’s all worth it, in the end. At least it was for me. I remember very well what it was like to be a kid and it made me happy to be able to see that excitement in the faces of children.
I work in the computer industry. Well, not currently but that’s where my career sits. This means that, when I am working, I spend a lot of time around people who also work in the computer field. I find it amusing, then, when people declare themselves “old school” because their first computer was the family ‘286. What I find surprising is that some of these people can be around my age or even slightly older.
I just laugh. If you started out on a 286 or newer then you missed the boat, in my opinion. I started messing around with computers using a CBM PET. Then there was my first computer, a VIC-20. I used Apple ][s in school and an Atari 400 at home. And, even then, I don’t consider myself ‘old school’ because there was a lot more than that before I got involved. I’m more ‘not quite old school.’
I genuinely feel sorry for people who missed the boat back in the late 1970s and 1980s. The computer world, now, is so static. Everything is based on one processor, even the Apples. The only thing that’s moving is the cell phone market, which are computers in their own right.
But back then things were so different. While the 6502 was quite common for home computers, there were others like the Z80. But, even the 6502-based computers had radical differences in terms of custom hardware. In some ways, a lot of the home computers could be considered multi-processor. The Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit line, and VIC-20 had specialized hardware for sound and specialized hardware for graphics. The Atari’s, in particular, had a graphic processing chip that had its own instruction set and operated independently of the main processor.
Chaos? Incompatible? Absolutely, but that’s where the fun was.
Thanks to the stars, we’ll all be quite emotional, both today and tomorrow — but you’ll be the poster child for just letting go. When you feel yourself getting ready to do some serious rebelling, don’t fight it.
I’m not sure how to take this one. It’s true that I could probably stand to be more emotional. I’ve been “turned off” for a over a year now. That would mean relinquishing that fine control I have over my mind and I don’t know if I’m ready for that.