My Name is Geek

Pong, the first video game I ever saw. It was captivating.

Yes, I’m a geek from way back.  It started with a fascination of all things electronic beginning with my oldest brother’s reel to reel tape recorder. (Yes, I’m really dating myself.)   We all crowded around the first cassette tape deck recording silly voices and bad but funny singing.  No more bulky unspooling reels.

The golden age of arcades began.  It’s funny now but Pong was captivating back in the day.  Games changed to blazing color with the advent of color televisions.  Pac-Man debuted in 1980.  Video games entered its first golden age.  Soon I heard about the astonishing idea of playing games on monitors – at home instead of arcades! 

With breakthroughs in technology, these games entered my home and rested on a table next to a small television that we bought just for gaming.  Two televisions in the house!  That was incredible.  I could now play Bowling and Golf on a relatively compact home console (we sadly opted for Intellivision instead of Atari 2600 in the gaming wars.  However we chose VHS over Betamax in the videotape format war, so we scored there.)   Gaming continued to evolve as I grew up and away from it.  Life got in the way. 

Legend of Zelda. This was state of the art console gaming circa 1990.

Around 1991, my older brother introduced me to a new home console, the Nintendo NES and an amazing new game, The Legend of Zelda.  Instead of performing inane tasks like like chasing balls across a screen, I could follow a high-fantasy adventure story-line and solve puzzles in addition to fighting the usual baddies.  But I didn’t rush out and buy a Nintendo console. I’d fallen head over heels for another emerging high tech – personal computing.  In 1984, my parents gave me an IBM PCjr. (Yes, I again backed the wrong horse; others had gone over to Radio Shack’s TRS-80.)  In college, it was still the day of Fortran, punch cards and mainframes that were perpetually “down” and I was unable to complete my computing assignments.  This dissuaded me from a career in computer science.  The idea that I could now sit down and finagle programs on my own time blew my mind.  But I quickly learned that the PCjr wasn’t a “real” computer (by today’s standards), and cast it aside.  More adulting happened.   But Dear Reader, you know what happened next.  It was the early 1990’s.  I discovered THE INTERNET.  The World Wide Web opened to the public and I wanted in it.  

Thus began one of the most expensive hobbies outside of car collecting.

The PC that started it all for me – the Packard Bell 386.

Developers released software for word processing, data-basing, rudimentary graphics, as well as access to the internet through Compuserve, Prodigy, and AOL.  I ran out and purchased a Packard Bell 386 (fondly known as Packard Hell) with a 120MB hard drive and 2MB RAM, and a 5.25 and 3.5 floppy drives.   I cruised the internet at a snail’s pace on a 24 baud modem. It was heaven.  When the 386 reached the end of it’s usefulness, I chucked it for the faster 486.  It too reached it’s upgrade cap (which occurred roughly every two years) so out it went.  Because it cost less to buy the parts than buy a complete computer, I started building my own.  On and on the cycle went of upgrading components and building or buying new computers.  I’ve happily remained on this wheel for over 25 years.  Since manufacturers have miniaturized chips so much and the speed of components have far exceeded the needs of the average user other than a gamer, graphics artist or architect, the turnover time for new computers is much longer. 

But I told you I was a gamer, right? 

The Nintendo Switch Zelda: BotW Edition. Because you can never spend too much money.

For the last month I’ve become enamored over a home console again, the brand spanking new Nintendo Switch and it’s pilot game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.  Yes, I’ve come full circle.  No, I don’t own it yet.  I’ve been watching other gamers play it on TwitchTV.  Yes, a gamer watching other people game is a thing.  Don’t laugh.  This looks awesome.  You can play it on a television then “switch” instantly to a portable hand held device without missing a step in the game.  Its manufacturer suggested price is $300 but retailers have hiked the price to over $400.  The game is $70.  So this new wave in gaming high tech is expensive which gives me pause. 

But it’s still my latest shiney.

The geek in me is still strong.

 

Foolish Friday: Sensual

Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde displaying the latest in skintight briefs. From the series Hannibal.

Hello class.  How’s your week been?  Did you enjoy last week’s nose study?  Well, we wouldn’t be at out objectifying best if we didn’t examine other…erm…areas. For science, you know.  During my blogging absence, I continue to track Richard Armitage’s roles, including that of Dolarhyde in Hannibal.  Luckily or not (your mileage may vary), I was already watching the show.  In preparing for class, I came across an article describing the character as “sensual and empathetic,” not words I would have used. 

But what’s important is that RA was “half undressed most of the time.”  No I’m not criticizing his acting; it was quite good.  However the character proved quite intense and violent which made viewing a bit daunting.  Hence, I enjoyed the time he was on screen clad in nothing but nice tight black briefs. 

This isn’t the greatest screen shot but RA here still appears as fit as he was as Guy 10 years ago, but let’s be sure.  Shall we?  Perky pecs? Check. Chiseled abs? Oh yes.  Waxed chest? Yes please.  Long finely muscled arms? Mmm hmm.  Looks slightly heavier than the lean Guy days but perfectly acceptable. 

But wait – is that a slight burgeoning love handle?  Personally I think the briefs are so tight that they are cutting him in just a tad at the waist.  The verdict?  I think RA still looks pretty fine at his age, or for any age.

What do you think class?

 

Deutsche Sprechen

I’m still rusty in the writing department but at least The Man has been rescued from London 2014.  Thanks to Servetus for her expert help.

Enjoy.

*****

The Man tried not to fidget in the low-back, short-seated chair.  No, think in German. Chair, sessel.

He’d folded himself as gracefully as possible but still felt all jutting knees and elbows.  His bum had gone numb and an earlier wiggle told him the chair’s fabric was every bit as itchy as he feared.   He longed to jump up and shake his arse.  That might make this interview junket more interesting.   An image of him dancing to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Out sprang to mind.  A smirk tugged at his lips.  Arse.  He knew this one: arsch

His earpiece fell silent.  The interviewer on the small television just out of camera range smiled with an air of expectancy.  The Man blinked.  Oi!  What had the journalist been asking… a synopsis of his new spy series…yes!  Ja!

“The show is about a CIA operative who is sent to the Berlin bureau…”  Yes, he hadn’t missed a beat and he’d been practicing his German to boot.

A few more questions and the face on the screen changed again.  The stage manager cued him again.  He began his spiel again. To promote the series,  his PR people had scheduled twelve interviews back to back in rapid succession.    Which one was this?  He’d lost count.   Hmm, count!  Eins, zwei, drei! 

To be honest,  the press junkets weren’t all that bad.  He’d learned variations of the same answers so that each interview seemed fresh.  He knew what the questions would be; nothing could really surprise him.  It was a small price to pay to stay a successful actor.  He had to promote his work. There was only one downside actually -the boredom. What was German for boredom?   It was hard to not drift off- Wait, what was that?

“…tall for a dwarf role. How tall are you?”

Okay, maybe there was another downside: inane questions about his work.  If he had a pound for every time he’d been asked that he could retire now. 

“I’m six feet three and three-quarter in my stocking feet.”  He smiled.  Last interview he said six feet two and half.  No worries.  Keeping it fresh.

“…trained in a circus.  Is that true?”

The Man sighed.  Clearly this would haunt him the rest of his days.  Couldn’t he just say he slept with the elephants and swept horse shit?  Scheisse.  Yes, he would. 

“Yes, I did it to get my actor’s equity card.”   Nah, he couldn’t do it. 

The interviewers switched again.  Ah, the last one.  Who was this one?  Ah, Gretchen with an accent. Not American.  Definitely European.  Maybe German?  This might be interesting.

“So your career began in a circus?”

Maybe not.   Hmm, speaking of German,  he’d been conjugating verbs on his own all summer.  Recalling them could help with the boredom.  Let’s see… to say is sagen. Ich sage, du sagst, es sagt.  To love: lieben. liebe, liebst, liebt.  To live: wohnen.  Wohne, wohnst wohnt.  To get something: besorgen. besorge, besorgst, besorgt.  Didn’t his colleagues on set teach him some phrases too?   Ich konnte es…. her?…ihm…no, ihr ….not…nicht…besorgen.   I couldn’t get it for her.  His friends had seemed particularly proud of his pronunciation.

“Yes!  Ich konnte es ihr nicht besorgen!”

His earpiece fell silent.  He blinked.   Uh oh, he didn’t just -. 

On the small screen, Gretchen smiled wryly.  Her eyes twinkled.  “I see.” 

He mentally kicked himself and smiled.  “I’m so sorry; my mind wandered.  I’ve been practicing my German.  Getting ready to start filming for the second series.” 

She pursed her lips.  “Love scenes maybe?”

His froze.  Why? What did I just say?”

“What do you think you said?”

He swallowed.  “I couldn’t get it for her.”

She broke into a full grin.  Well, yes. But I was asking you about a girlfriend, maybe?  So it could also mean, “I couldn’t get it up for her.”

Oh shit, I’m going to kill them.   What were his PR people going to say about this, especially after the whole social media/mobile thing?

“But don’t worry.  It made an interesting interview.  Auf Wiedersehen, Mein Liebster.”

The screen went black.

The Man slumped.  Well, they could edit that out later.  At least it wasn’t live.

Was it?

 

I’m Baaaaaack!

grand openingAs you might have noticed, my blog has been down since March.  My site was hacked and infected with nasty malware.  The web host therefore took the site down until I did something about it, never mind that it was on their server.  They gave me a list of 91 infected files and left me to it.  Needless to say, the development didn’t help my shaky mood so I let the whole mess languish… and languish… and languish.  I could have erased everything and started fresh but didn’t want to lose all my posts.  A computer friend looked at it and said I was pretty much screwed unless I had a clean backup (nope) or somehow puzzled through the server language to do a clean sweep.  OR the web host could do it for me- for a one time hefty fee.  Lovely.  So I bit the bullet and forked over the cash. I’m now back in service.

So a lot has happened in six months, although poor The Man is still stuck in London playing in The Crucible.  Will have to rectify that.  Stay tuned!

 

Crazy Week

The week ramps up to the Phantom of the Opera opening Friday night. It’s so hectic that I have no time to blog this week. Still tuned next week for regularly scheduled programming.

Meanwhile feel free to submit topics for me to discuss in the comments below.

A Stage of Grief; or Disciplining the Discipline

stages-of-griefDay 2

I’m stuck in a stage of grief.  I gaze out the window overlooking a snowy prairie and a charmingly named furniture store called The Dump, and a mental tape in my head plays: I’m only here temporarily. My motivation wanes.  I consider trial leasing a car to acquire a bit more independence here in the ‘burbs, despite not having driven for 20 years. I’m only here temporarily.  The determination leeches away.  My friends and family reassure me that my apartment is lovely and decorated beautifully, it’s really not much smaller than the condo. I’m only here temporarily. Satisfaction dwindles.  I sit at the computer poised to say – something.  I’m only here temporarily.  The procrastination kicks in.

I am only here temporarily, until the summer of 2016 when my credit has healed enough to let me purchase something. But that’s over 18 months away – a year and a half of living to do.  But as the days go by and I go through the motions, something inside keeps me from smoothly accepting the permanence of this particular transition.  What I knew is completely gone against my will: the job, the career, the mental wherewithal, the condo, the lifestyle. It’s so damn final.  I recognize nothing but my friends.  They ask how am I doing in the ‘burbs and I always answer: adjusting.  How long does it take to adjust?  My pragmatic self is silent – strangely so.  I check in on my sartorial psyche Jodi, Jada, and Julie but they are silent too.  Well, not Jodi; I suspect she’s the one resisting change, resisting acceptance.  I’m not sure what to do for her.

This feeds a kind of mental paralysis. I procrastinate and magnify issues until I’m an inert, anxious, fearful blob.  There are things I need to do: physical therapy, going for the final post-cataract exam, getting new glasses, test driving, exploring my new world, writing.  Those same baby steps, all over again.  I think about toddlers and their determination to walk just like everybody else. After three and half years of barely holding my life together with spit and wire, I want a “normal” existence too.  If psychological acceptance isn’t happening right now, then determination and discipline is the only way through.

So I plant my butt in a chair and type while that tape plays: I’m only here temporarily, and remind myself that I don’t need an ideal setting to pour out my thoughts.  While my psyche still mourns for what was lost, part of me must look forward and do somethingIf you can’t write about the fandom or HIM, Dr. G. says with a twinkle in her eye, then write what you feel now.

So here I am. Writing.

Serene Sunday; Sad Dog Diary

No music today – just an update and funny video.

First, finally moved into an apartment on Friday. I’ve yet to recount my moving hell parts 1 and 2 because that’s a whole ‘nother post. Suffice it to say that 98% of my stuff made it. Basically intact. The whole experience has been unreal; I kid you not.

My buddy Elsa is on her way bearing my Pomeranian Patty (who I understand dragged her to the car when she realized she was going on A Trip.) I’ve unpacked about 85% of the boxes in the eclectic style of decorating otherwise known as the I-don’t-care-where-it-goes-I’m-so-damn-tired fashion. My other buddy Trina can come and organize it all. (Joking Trina…kinda.)

Don’t have wi-fi yet but but do have 4G on my iPad that’s eating up money. So I’ll leave you with this hilarious video. Dog lovers (like a certain British actor) will love it.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw1C5T-fH2Y

Test 2

*pick up mic*  Hello?  Is this thing on?

ETA: I’m a genius.  The blog is back in session.  Please comment if you received an email notification and how many.

ETBSA: Good grief, I’m drowning in my own notifications.  Really hope everybody received only one.

BTW, the WordPress 4.0 update caused the blog to default back to manual moderation.  While I fixed that, comments might have reset to everybody needing a one time manual clearance. So I will check the moderation queue frequently to make sure all commentators are re-approved.

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Crazy

Me vs. Menopause: Volume I

Me vs. Menopause: Volume I

Hey, it’s me again. And again.  And again.

The good news is I’m blazing my way back, although your mileage may vary on how good that is.  Like any egotistical writer, I’ll assume you’ve been whispering in corners brows furrowed, worrying and wondering what happened to my blatherings, snark, and deathless prose possibly about Richard Armitage.  Don’t worry, I’ve stashed months and months of thoughts on all three.

The bad news my depression went all wibbly wobbly.  No, Winston the black dog of gloom didn’t return.  Instead my hormones have been thrown into chaos by that horrid phase of womanhood, MENOPAUSE.  I could rant for days on the subject, but let’s just say that the turmoil negated the efficacy of the anti-depressives and stopped me in my tracks.  Not only did the blogging stop, everything else did as well.  Now that things seem to be settling and the meds work agreeing to agree, another window of opportunity presents itself to start pushing the proverbial ball back uphill.

The crazy is that today seems like a new year to me when I rise yet again, dust myself off and make resolutions: start blogging again,  fire up Scrivener and write again, and think of life in terms of a story to tell.  Surprisingly, I miss writing – not that I’m a great storyteller – but the mechanics of thinking about things and translating the story from my mind to the medium.  I suspect the habit of regularly blogging ignited something internally.  Dr. G. also believes that blogging is beneficial to psychological processing.  So you see, it’s what the doctor orders.

I’m not sure whether to blog every day, but I’ll  share thoughts about the latest doings of Mr. A. or maybe let The Man tell you.  Any ideas are welcome.

 

In Honor of A Mother Memorial Fund Tally

Close-up of Lily flowersContributions for the memorial fund in honor of Mrs. Servetus closed yesterday at midnight.  I saved every notification from PayPal in a separate folder and tabulated each donation as they arrived.  After double and triple checking, the final tally was $762.50 (U.S. dollars).  (Told ya this was enough to buy an iDevice).

As you know, RA has four charities on his JustGiving page.  The winning charity was chosen by the scientific process of closing my eyes and pointing a finger at the screen.  The finger landed on – The Salvation Army.   So the entire amount went to this charity.  For transparency sake,  here is the receipt:

 memorial receipt

Here is the entry posted to RA’s message page:

memorial2

I want to thank FedoraLady who helped brainstorm the idea as well as all the others who helped pass the word:

West of Milton

It’s an RA World

Something about Love

Well, There You Go

Collar City Brownstone

Armitage Agonistes

Unkraut Vergeht Nicht

Ancient Armitage

I Want to be a Pinup

CrystalChandlyreThe Arkenstone

y que iba yo a contar

Obsessive Behavior

 It’s amazing when people can come together at times like these.  I’m proud to be part of such a community.

 

In Honor of A Mother

Close-up of Lily flowersAs you may have read here,  Servetus’s mother passed away yesterday.  Knowing that many of you would want to reach out in a tangible way, a few of us have gotten together and created a PayPal account to accept donations in honor of Mrs. Servetus.  All moneys received will be donated to RA’s charities at JustGiving, under the moniker “Memoriam for a Mother.”

 

 

Serene Sunday – Ave Maria

Ave Maria is not a Christmas song although it’s played mostly during the holiday season.  As Jazzbaby stated on her blog, there are two versions, the Shubert and the Bach-Gounod version.  My favorite is the Gounod sung by one my favorite voices, Johnny Mathis.

Ave Maria – Johnny Mathis (Bach-Gounod)

The Bach-Gounod version of the Ave Maria was requested by my special friend, 19rebel57. The pictures were provided by her, as well. Some may not be aware that the “Ave Maria” is the Catholic Prayer, “Hail Mary,” sung in Latin. The first part of the prayer comes from the The New Testament.

 

He also does the  Schubert version, too.  Which one do you prefer?

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Surreal Saturday – Farting Elves 12 Day of Christmas

As you know dear reader, I like to keep this blog to a certain standard.  However when the holiday season rolls around, that high falutin’ stuff goes right out the window.  What better way to start Surreal Saturday today than with something utterly juvenile and tasteless.  There’s no better purveyor of trash than JibJab which prides itself on leaving no rock unturned.

Enjoy!

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