Friday, September 25, 2009



Sometimes Kelly & are called upon by friends to help with minor computer problems they are having.  The emphasis is on the word minor.  We are not computer geeks by any stretch of the imagination but we are familiar with a few areas of computing that we repeatedly use ourselves.  We are both on the computer every day & it is this constant repetition that keeps us in the loop.  At this age & stage of the game I find that daily repetition is the key to staying on top of the computer game.  Slack off for even a day or two & those memory cells begin to drift off into space again.  Learning can quickly!!

A BIG SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO SKYIt was probably about the mid 90's when the word 'computer' slowly began showing up in my world.  A few things on the news, maybe a magazine article here & there, & sometimes actually meeting someone who had one of these things at home.  It all started to take on some meaning for me while driving passenger vans back & forth to the Toronto airport.  Some of the people I was transporting were local businessmen from various companies & industries in Stratford, Ontario.  I would sometimes strike up a 'computer' conversation with them & pick up bits of info regarding their computer knowledge.  I remember leaving the airport late one night with a fellow sitting two seats behind me.  His luggage was in the back of the van but he had carried on a small black rectangular looking case.  We were somewhere well west of Toronto when I happened to glance in the rear view mirror & in the total darkness was startled to see what I thought looked like a glowing Martian face.  This man wore very thick glasses & his face was bathed in a pale green glow that seemed to be emanating from somewhere below his head.  Remember as a kid sticking a flashlight under your chin in the darkness, then running around scaring everybody.  Well, same effect & just as scary too!!   This was my first introduction to some kind of computer machine that sat on a persons lap or something.

REFLECTION IN A MOTORCYCLE RUNNING LIGHT That man's name was Jim Young & as it turned out he was a computer programmer for a large company based in Stratford.  Over the next while we became friends & Jim would ride up front in the van on his way to & from the airport on his many trips all over the world.  He was the fellow I was asking the most questions, like, what exactly is a computer & what does it do, what is this thing called email, does the keyboard have a back-space bar, how does something go from a keyboard in seconds to the far corner's of the earth in a single keystroke, do you use white-out on the screen if you make a typing error, what is an internet & is it something like a fishing net, & what has 95 Windows got to do with anything, & a flopping disk....what is that?  It was hard for me to get an overall concept of how all this magic worked but I was intrigued & determined to find out. 

ADDED SOME COLOR TO OUR WHITE-WHITE KITCHEN!! Jim Young was very patient with my country bumpkin questions & always seemed to enjoy explaining the wonders of cyberspace.  My imagination grew as I gradually began to realize that this computer age could be something very beneficial that we just might be able to use at home.  Wasn't exactly sure why but just had a feeling it was somehow going to be a good thing.  The writing was finally on the wall..........I wanted a computer!!!!

GRAND BEND ONTARIO'S EAST HIGHWAY ENTRANCEIt didn't take any convincing for Kelly to get on board with the puter idea because her interest was peeked just as much as mine so with that in mind we headed into Stratford one day & dropped into a local computer shop. We had seen their sale flyer advertised in the local newspaper.   Chipon Computers was located on Erie street & it was our first real time seeing actual computers, printers, monitors, & all kinds of other magical looking & sounding things.  We sure felt like a couple of local yokels who had just fallen off a hay wagon going by.  But wow, talk about excitement for both of us.  Mixed with a healthy dose of apprehension I might quickly add.  We picked out one of 4 advertised computer packages, signed on the dotted line, & headed home wondering what we had just done.A FIELD OF PUMPKINS AWAITING HALLOWEEN

It was a couple days before the fellows at the computer shop were able to bring the computer out to our old rented farm house & set everything up.  I wasn't home because it was late on a Friday afternoon & in those days I did the mid afternoon Airport run from Stratford to Toronto so it was usually well after 10 o'clock at night before I got home. The fellow setting the computer up had given Kelly a quick lesson on how to turn it on & that was about it.  When I finally got home that night, there it was. This wondrous looking thing sitting on the table with lights blinking, whirring sounds, & a big colorful something bounding around on a thing that looked like a small television screen.  I would later come to know that bouncing ball was a screen saver.  I remember both of us standing in front of this space age contraption saying, "now what do we do."  We didn't even know how to turn it off.  We knew absolutely nothing & our faithful 6 week old puppy, Max, knew even less.  This was day one of a love/hate computer relationship lifestyle that continues to this very day. A LOOK AT GRAND BEND FROM THE PIER

And who could have imagined that the scary green appearance of a Martian looking face in the back of a darkened van late one night on an 8 lane highway would someday tie to-gether my love of computers, photography, writing, & traveling, & one day lead to something as weird sounding as.......a blog!!NO IDEA WHAT THIS BIRD IS SO I'LL JUST CALL HIM A SAND PEBBLE

In a future post.........Al buys a book for 'Dummies!!'

In last night's post I mentioned about a quiet ride on the motorcycle yesterday.  Some of you may wonder how is it possible to have a ‘quiet’ ride on a motorcycle!!  Very simple.....I ride a Honda, not a Harley:))

DSC_2471 GROANER'S CORNER:((  Five days a week my body is a temple.  The other two it's an amusement park.


The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.


  1. This reminds me of 1982 and my first XT IBM Compatible computer. Got it home plugged it in and all I saw was: C:\_ With the underline blinking.
    I said the same thing as you did. What NOW?
    That seems like a thousand years ago. Look how much has changed since then huh?

  2. Ahhh yes... 1985 and you could buy a Texas Instrument computer from Sears with a $50 rebate! I typed in line after line of crazy characters from a Computer World magazine, just to have a little stick man walk across my screen! LOL You could buy a plug in cartridge for each program you wanted, like a game or a word processer. And who can forget those ink blot plotter printers with their faint typing of letters?

    Ohhh what a long and strange journey...

  3. Great post, Al. I'm sure there are many out there who can relate to your experience. I happened to get into the computer stuff a bit earlier - 1964 with IBM mainframes the size of 747's! Times sure have changed! It sure has expanded our world.

  4. Were we the first of this group of bloggers? We got our first computer, a Radio Shack Color Computer, in the late 70's. It didn't even have a monitor; you plugged it into your TV, and yes, the screen had colors. And yes, you bought cartidges for various programs. The Color Computer came with 16K, which we quickly upgraded to 64K, knowing we had all the memory we'd ever need!

    Wow. Maybe I'll follow Al and write a blog about that.