Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Have You an Amusing Anecdote?

One day in to content challenge, and already (just over) the wire.

I was thinking today about my grandparents' house in Winter Park, Florida, where I spent a few great summers. They didn't believe in air conditioning -- I'm not exactly sure how I managed to survive the heat and humidity of a Florida summer with only an electric fan, but I did. My aunt who lived down the road had air conditioning -- I'd go over there to swim, but it didn't seem too bad coming back to my grandparents' house and the mugginess. When you're 8 or 9, you can adapt to anything, I suppose.

My favorite room was the "Florida room", sort of a sunroom with teak frame furniture, and a statue of the Virgin Mary presiding over a small rock garden. The earthy-sunny-mystical smell of that room was so evocative -- when I arrived there, from a car trip or from the airport, the smell of that room told me I was back in that magical house.

The "Florida room" also had stacks and stacks and stacks of Readers' Digest, which I read for hours. I suppose that contributed to my (shameful) enjoyment of really square humor -- I hate to admit it, but I laugh out loud at Jay Leno's "Headlines", for example. (Misspellings, tee hee!) I would read "Humor in Uniform", "Life In These United States", "All In A Day's Work", and enjoy the amusing anecdotes. ("Laughter, the Best Medicine" just never really lived up to its promise.) I might also read "Drama In Real Life: A Cougar Ate My Face" or the few variations (survived attack by wild animal; survived natural disaster. Cougar/bear/alligator, tornado/hurricane/avalanche. Those were your choices.)

The Florida Room had a long hanging curtain, which separated the main room from my grandfather's study/work area. He had his electronic equipment in there (I think I remember radio tubes, but it was all a mystery.) In later years I would be allowed to pass Behind the Curtain in order to play with the TRS-80 computer he'd bought -- I figured out programs in BASIC that would generate random numbers, or say hello, or (my finest achievement) draw rectangles that would grow in size, like the navigational computer screen in Alien (the first one, from 1979) which I was obsessed with. My dorkitude was obvious because, while I enjoyed the creepy sci-fi haunted-house-ness of Alien, I was most interested in the computer that ran the ship. I saw the movie multiple times, and tried to memorize the various screen shots that Sigourney Weaver saw as she asked the computer ("Mother") questions like, Is that Damn Alien Going to Kill Us All and Get After Me While I'm In My Underpants? (Answer: yes.)

If I'd kept up with learning computer programming, I wonder where I'd be now. Probably posting screencaps from the Alien DVD on my personal fan forum, no doubt.


Blogger David said...

11:11? Really? :)

10:14 PM  
Blogger Crash said...

I'm so excited to see you posting again.

6:45 PM  

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