, , , , , , , ,


I found out that Netflix has the show “Family Ties” available for streaming. You may remember that “Family Ties” ran from 1982 to 1989, clocking in a respectable seven seasons. It was also the start of Michael J. Fox’s successful career.

It was one of the shows I watched frequently. And, since I was watching that I figured I should fire up the Atari emulator and play some old games. In my head, then, I was back in the 1980s, up in my bedroom, without a care in the world.

I found out that while I’m just as good as watching half-hour sitcoms as I was when I was a kid, I really suck at playing the games I was good at back then. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Optimistically, it could just be that I haven’t played them for 20-30 years. Oh my God, what a long time that is. It’s always a shock to the system to realize that, which is why I try and forget the amount of time it is as quickly as possible. Which is pretty easy when you get old.

I’ve also come to the realization that my left thumb isn’t quite as durable as it used to be. After a couple of rounds of Gyruss it was ready to fall off. I feel a bit like the big time baseball player who realizes he can’t hit the ball anymore.

One of the first games I ever got for my Atari 400 was “Canyon Climber.” On cassette, no less. The premise of “Canyon Climber” is kind of questionable: you play some kind of anarchist that blows up bridges while avoiding sheep and then make your getaway by avoiding angry native Americans and birds dropping “bricks.” But this was the 1980s, before political correctness was invented and people still had a sense of humor.

Create confusion by planting charges and then blowing up bridges!


Avoid angry Indians shooting arrows at you!

Avoid the "bricks" birds try to drop on you!

I’ve finished with “Deep Space Nine,” which means I’m all caught up on the Star Trek universe. Except for the original series and the animated series, neither of which I have any interest in watching.

Now I’m going through all seven years of “Family Ties.” I’ll admit that it’s going to take some getting used to. For starters, the episodes are only about 25 minutes long versus the 45 minutes of the hour long shows. Second, I believe there will be a lot less time traveling and probably no Ferengi. I won’t be able to point out all the errors. I also won’t be able to point out the “technical gobbledygook”  term. All that is lost in the world of 1980s perfect family sitcoms.

It’ll take some getting used to, that’s what I’m saying.

One of the awesome things of watching these shows, though, is all the ancient technology. People still use typewriters. People still use telephones which have wires leading into the wall. You don’t see many microwaves and computers have green letters on a black background. Wow! I remember all of those things!

And then there’s the appearances of actors who weren’t really anybody at the time but made a name later on, like Tom Hanks and Christina Applegate.

There are a number of books that have been recommended to me that I’ve never gotten around to reading. Lack of time or a higher interest in something else is usually the culprit for this. When I got my Nook and was looking for something to get to try it out I figured I would go with a book that I had always meant to read but never got around to it. Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. This is one of those critically acclaimed books that everyone in the world has read, except me.

The story, published in 1992, involves computers, virtual reality, and ancient Sumerian myths. All things that I am quite interested in. It’s a shame, then, that I really don’t like it. I haven’t finished it; I’m a little less than halfway through. Perhaps it’ll get better and I’ll enjoy it, but as it stands I find it really difficult to get through just because I don’t like it. The reason why, I think, is the style it’s written in. I call this style “chaos.” Everything seems to come out of nowhere, isn’t held together very tightly, tends to be ‘hip’ for no other reason than to be ‘hip.’ It’s a style I usually see in ‘zany’ and ‘wacky’ comedy stories, which I don’t find funny or interesting, either.

I’ll keep trying to push through it, though, just so I can say I read it.

I don’t know how it is around the rest of the country, but in these parts phone interviews are the big thing. You’re more likely to get a phone interview than a personal one, at least for the first interview. I don’t have any problems with that because it tends to speed up the process a little.

For instance, I got called early this afternoon for a pre-screen and I had a phone interview before 5 o’clock. I think it went well. I hope it went well. It sounds like a very interesting opportunity and it’s definitely something I’m interested in. It’s got a heavy basis in Linux and it was fun being able to answer Linux questions to someone who cared. I kind of wish they had asked slightly harder questions, though.

Either way, they were nice guys to talk to so even if I don’t get this job I’m happy to have had the phone call.

It’s interesting to note that, as far as I can tell, their offices are right around the corner from where I used to work.