A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Words of Love: an A to Z Theme

Love05 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
           My 2013 A to Z Challenge theme for Wrote By Rote was inspired by a suggestion made by A to Z co-host Nicole Ayers of The Madlab Post.  I don't recall exactly where or when she suggested this--it may have been in one of her videos--but she had the idea that one might blog through the alphabet by finding words that were synonymous or had something to do with love.

           When I heard this idea I was immediately struck with the idea that this could make a great theme for Wrote By Rote.   After all, love in all its various forms and incarnations has to do with our lives.  We all have loved many in many ways.   We have our families, friends, and others with whom we feel a close bond that might be considered love in various ways.

          My April posts will not necessarily be about romantic love, though this will certainly be a part of the story.  Our lives have many loves, including people, pets, places, and things.   Where will the alphabet lead me in my story of love?   Stay tuned for the "Words of Love".   They are many and spoken in many voices.

          The Challenge starts on Monday April 1st.   I hope you will join me.

          What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the word "love"?   Do you believe in love at first sight?   Is love truly blind?

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Born in the Shadow of the Computer (Part 3)

motherboard (Photo credit: fsse8info)

       In the guts of the computer when you open it it you'll see intricate boards with wires, circuits, and all sorts of little thingie doodads that the non-technical mind like I have does not comprehend too well.  What I do see is a metaphor for life.  Those circuits with all of the parallels and intersections all working together to serve my needs are like the history of where I've been, who I am now, and where I am going in the days and years ahead.  We are all like circuits on the great motherboard of existence.

        And this preceding paragraph exhibits why a post that was intended to be a one installment of biding time has turned into part three and will continue on into May since my computer problems persist and I don't know what I'm doing and I don't have the money at the present time to invest in professional computer repairs.  Add to that, I'm a bit stubborn sometimes.   I'm going to fix this.

        But not today I suppose.  I won't even finish this story today.  Consider this a sort of intermission, or a prelude perhaps to the story to come.  This is not even what I'd planned on writing today, but life is often like that as well isn't it?  We intend in going one direction and then get distracted to go another route.

        One story leads to another and that is the story of life--yours, mine, ours, and everyone who was and will be.  Our stories sometimes intersect or often run in parallel paths.  Here in this cyberspace world we find others we would have more than likely never encountered in the local world of where we typically are.  It's kind of wonderful really, but that does not discount the life that is ours immediate to the senses.

        I am biding time, sure, but don't we all in many ways.  We are all living in the shadow of the computer.  Sometimes a curse, sometimes a blessing--there is no escaping the computers that are all around us and essentially run our lives.  How did we get here?

         If all goes like I hope, next week's post will be my introduction to my A to Z Challenge theme.  Then during the month of April I will hopefully post for 26 days upon that stated theme.  At least that is my intent.

         We know how intents can go.  And that is where this story is going.  In May I intend to pick up again on my story of being Born in the Shadow of the Computer as I look at the ironies of my encounter with computers in the 1990's.  One simple start of a story a couple posts ago becomes three posts and in turn becomes who knows how many more.  The story will probably not end for me until my life ends.   The computers are here to stay.  At least for a while.


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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Born in the Shadow of the Computer (Part Two)

SVG version of the screenshot found at Image:E...
SVG version of the screenshot found at Image:Emacs Tetris (detail).png of the tetromino game in Emacs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
(...continued from the previous post.)

        My dad was an idea guy.  He was never particularly technically minded so his ideas weren't like an inventor.  Working on cars or building things or even handyman work around the house were not something he ever did.  I'd say he was technically challenged.   But he liked innovations, gimmicks, and any novel idea that would capture his imagination.   And he was a pretty imaginative guy.

          Following my years of traveling on the road with a theater company during most of the 1980's, I decided to settle with my family in what I considered to be my home town.  After a period of living at home with my parents while we got established into the routine of life in one place, my family and I moved to an apartment that was not far from my parents house.  We were there frequently.  Especially when I discovered my father's computer.

          I don't recall what kind of computer it was, but it was a pre-windows workhorse that required knowledge of coded computer language.   I didn't get it at all.   What I did learn how to do was play Tetris and I played every chance I got. This was not like the old Pong game we used to hook up to our television set years before.  The new computer games were far more intricate and colorful.   The other games installed on my dad's computer were interesting, but Tetris was the one that hooked me.

         Once he had obtained the computer second-hand through a classified ad, he began studying the technology with a vengeance.   He took a computer class in the evenings after work.  He bought computer books and studied them voraciously.  I looked at his class workbook and nothing made sense to me.   Beyond the games I couldn't do a darn thing on the computer.  The languages left me baffled.   I could open the games with the prompts my father provided me.  Everything else was beyond my grasp.  Besides I was quite content watching the geometrical pieces of Tetris fall into place over and over again.

        Then in 1990 I got a new job.   And wouldn't you know it--computers were a big part of what I was hired to do....

          (...to be continued.   I'm keeping these posts relatively short because of my current ongoing computer problems.   Sometimes my computer is working like a wiz, then others it all slows down or even freezes.   Hopefully in a few days I'll have solved the problem.   Either that or I'll just go nuts.)

        Did you ever play Tetris?   Did you use computers prior to Windows?   How many computer languages do you "speak"?

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Born in the Shadow of the Computer (Part One)

"Technology has exceeded our humanity"
"Technology has exceeded our humanity" (Photo credit: Toban B.)
         When I was sat down in front of the Wang computer,  my mind became befuddled.   What was presented as an opportunity was an intimidation that I backed away from.  Now I don't even recall why I was given this opportunity.  It was like the memory of a bad experience that had been erased from my mind.

           This was when I was in high school, about 1968, and it had something to do with Spanish class.  At least this is the class I relate this to.  A hand picked group of promising students was sent to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to learn this new computer technology.  Obviously I was the wrong choice.  I learned nothing and remember nothing.

           So goes the story of my life with computers. The technology loomed large on the horizon casting a shadow over some of us while shining brightly for others.  Though I liked the science fiction nature of it all, the reality merely left me confused.  I've never been too very good with technical or mechanical things.

           The computers continued to pervade every aspect of life as I sometimes felt more and more left behind.   The computer age had already begun by the time I was born in 1951 and yet from the standpoint of those machines I was an anachronistic holdover from another time.  I was not the only one.  There were many of us.  I would like to have been in mental sync with the technology, but my mind refused to cooperate.  Or perhaps I was too stubborn to learn.

         And so it went for the next twenty years, me out of sync with the encroaching new world of computing and computers everywhere, all around me.  I was using them and never thought about how pervasive computers were in every aspect of my life.   Oblivious to the reality, but knowing that the societal evolution was happening with or without me.   I was not part of the equation.

         Then at the end of the 80's, the era of MTV and techno music that signaled the take-over of modern culture by computers, I emerged into this silicon world like a new born baby.

(Due to current computer problems this will be continued...)

         Have you had difficulty adjusting to modern technology?   Are computers more of a bane or a blessing to you?    How have computers directly affected your life?

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Night Hike

English: Wikipedia:Heilbronn, hike tour
English: Wikipedia:Heilbronn, hike tour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
        The days and evenings had grown warmer as spring was about to submit itself to the turn of summer.  My friends and I had lived in the cabin since the frigidity of January.  Vernon, Wendell, Bob, and I had found the Laurel Valley cabin on the market for a reasonable price, especially considering the prime location that would be highly desirable during the summer tourist season.  We were young, single, and in a mindset that we were mountain men of sorts.

         Winter camping was never my favorite activity though I did my share.  As the warmer days set in, camping became higher on my list of things to do.  The camping adventures typically happened on a Friday or Saturday when most of the other adventurers in our circle of friends didn't have to work the next day.  This one April Friday evening was an ideal night for camping.

         About eight of us gathered at the cabin in preparation for the hike to the top of Kelly Ridge.  The trail head was about a quarter mile from our cabin and from there it was another mile or so to the top of the mountain.  By the time everyone was ready to go, darkness had set in.   It was a clear moonlit night.  Though we used flashlights, we could have made the hike with the light provided by God.

         We were a bit of a Godless bunch at that time.  Backsliders, most of us raised in the church, but now wild young men who partied on week-ends with booze and drugs.  We may have been hiking in the night, but God was always nearby, not guiding us, but watching over us keeping us from harm.  We could act tough, but we were also thoughtful and more spiritual than an outsider might have thought.

          At the top of the mountain we set up camp not far from one of the deepest caves in America.  Except for me, everyone unrolled sleeping bags onto the ground.  I strung up a hammock between two trees and laid my sleeping bag in it.  Our beds were made, but it was not yet time to lie in them.  There was the business of fun to attend to.

         We smoked and drank in the semi-darkness and talked about life and its mysteries.  Stories were told and we jousted with witticisms.  Then a quiet set in as bodies and heads grew heavy.  Soon there was no sound except the occasional rustle of the trees above us.  It was a quiet forest.  The summer sound of insects was not there yet.  I looked at the starry sky in the spaces the tree canopy did not cover.

          Someday there would be no night hikes or mountain camping for me.    This was far from my mind on that night.  I was already in the future and continually going further into it.  Into a time unknown, but dreamed of.  Something was coming for me soon.  A new horizon.   Tomorrow was another day--a very different day.

         Have you ever gone hiking at night?   Have you done any wide open camping in the wild?   Did you live a wild youth?

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