Bits & Pieces 2012-08-30

Links and things that I’ve run across recently.

Hey, Can I Get Facebook on This Thing?

Old Commodore 128 (versus the flat-screen TV)

August 1 was the 30’th anniversary of the release of the Commodore 64 home computer. To commemorate the event, Pingdom posted a series of C-64 photos on his blog, and I guess, yeah, we all looked pretty dorky back in the 80’s. (You’re welcome to guess which one is me. And you’d probably be right, since my name is cited right there under my photo.)

Meanwhile, my brother and father and I commemorated the event by digging out my old C-64… which we couldn’t find. Apparently, we had already gotten rid of it. (Unless it’s buried somewhere in my basement, which I guess it may be.) The C-64 was named after its 64KB of RAM (not MB or GB), which was quite a feat for the day. We did, however, find the old Commodore 128, the next-generation system with 128KB RAM, which only half worked. That is, it still works in high-resolution mode (Ha! Good one.), just barely, but the low-resolution video generator seems not to be working anymore.

Regardless, unfortunately, we couldn’t find any floppy disks that still had usable data on them.

Don’t Know What It’s About

Variety reports that ABC is developing a TV series with J. Michael Straczynski, mastermind of the classic SF series Babylon 5. Not many details yet, but it’s a “pandemic thriller” containing “a blend of procedural and serialized elements.”

Okay, so, that really narrows it down.

TG Daily is a little more specific, reporting that it will be “a closed-ended detective procedural show with an over arc that involves an enigmatic disease pandemic.” Okay, now I like it even less.

But if JMS is masterminding the story, maybe it will have deep, compelling characters, and maybe it will actually mean something, which would be real nice.

And on a Sad Note

I mentioned an old friend on this blog two years ago, when he and his family helped us out by loaning us a vehicle for several days. For 17 years, we made music together in the church band, before events and circumstances set us on different paths. And more than once he offered support to me and to many others.

He unexpectedly passed away this past weekend, due to complications with cancer treatment. I attended his wake Tuesday evening.

I think I like the Jewish traditions better. Have a funeral as quickly as possible, in a small, private ceremony. Then sit shiva for up to a week, as the community pours out support. In the meantime, the immediate family gets to be sad, and doesn’t have to dress up or put on airs, ever, for anyone.

Sometimes, instead, I wonder whether we expect Gilmore Girls to be true. You may remember the episode when Trix died. And Richard completely came unglued, holed up in his office and listened to sad music, for days, refused to shave or bathe, refused to change his clothes, refused to eat. This ultimately left Lorelai to somehow pull together the funeral. And then, on the day of the funeral, he suddenly transformed into the perfect host. Just like magic.

Yeah, right. I believe that.

The passing of a dear loved one never works like that. Realistically, the only words I have to offer my friends are a variation on the traditional Jewish benediction reserved for such occasions: May the Omnipresent One comfort you, among the other mourners of the saints.

Today’s Quote

In three words: just be there. What mourners need most is the gift of you.

(Rabbi Benjamin Blech, “Dos and don’ts at a shiva house”)