I have always been a geek of sorts. As a child I would ride my bike to the local Radio Shack and lust after the TRS-80 computers. I would sit for hours writing programs in Basic. The sales guys loved it, an 11 year old kid typing away in the store. When a customer would ask about the amazing new computers (with 4KB of RAM!), they would point at me and say how easy it was to program one of them, “See even a kid can do it.”
Not long after this, I begged my mom for an Atari 800 computer. I spent so many hours programming it in my basement. I made all kinds of visual experiments, writing programs which exploited the incredible graphics modes like 160×96 screen pixels and even 320×192 pixels (these modes only allowed for 2 colors at a time). I attended an Atari computer camp in Minnesota the summer of 1983, where I completed my first computer game, a text only ripoff of Risk but with a more geographically accurate map.
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Last summer, I started a video journal at youtube.com which was about my experience living in Scottsdale, Arizona. I haven’t updated it in some time. I want to tell you why.
I’d left New York the previous fall to stay with my father in Arizona. He had recently been ill and wanted to spend the winter in Scottsdale. At first I just wanted to help him move and find an apartment. But as the time approached, I realized that I could use a break from NYC. I decided I would spend the winter with him. It wasn’t because I was being a good son. I did want to help my dad and it was a terrific opportunity to spend the kind of time with him that I’d never been able to do before. But I had other reasons too. My father is a poker player and intended to spend the winter at Casino Arizona playing hold’em. I had already been making a little money playing poker. It seemed like an ideal opportunity to see if I was good enough to be a pro.
It was a fantastic winter. Arizona is probably the best place to spend a winter in the states. The desert is beautiful. Nearly everyday is sunny and a day with a high in the 50s is rare. We played poker almost every day, my father’s health improved and we began talking about this winter when Dad would again return to Arizona. I decided to stay through the summer, continue to play poker and find a nice 2 bedroom apartment where my dad could join me when the weather in Illinois began to get cold again.
Continue reading “Why I haven’t made a video since October”