Vintage.

I was tempted to buy the Apple IIe pictured above. Earl would have wondered where I was going to put it, but it would have been a nifty thing to have in my office.

I took some time Saturday afternoon to browse and reminisce at the Vintage Computer Festival Midwest outside of the city. Earl opted to wait for me at the local Starbucks. I spent an hour so walking around, talking to other vintage computing geeks, and having a nice discussion with a guy running a full-fledged Digital VAX 11 in the exhibit space. (Think almost the size of a mainframe and usually found in a specially cooled room).

I’ve mentioned before that while we have plenty of technology today, it seems like companies are missing an element on innovation these days. We could be much smarter people if we used technology for worthwhile causes instead of using all of these devices for entertainment. Granted, many of the computers on display at VCFMW were demonstrating games of the era, but at least the games still made you think. When you’re playing a text-based role game, you have to use your imagination to know where you are in the game space. Today’s immersive technology doesn’t really engage imagination.

I had the opportunity to play around with a few of the older machines while I was at the festival and I was delighted to realize that my “muscle memory” of certain editing commands on ancient text editors are still quite intact. I haven’t used DEC’s EDT editor in a couple of decades but I was able to navigate around the screen like an old pro. That was kind of fun.

It’s fun to see such an effort to keep our computing heritage alive. I look forward to attending more of these festivals.

Participation.

On Saturday night we went to a party at the local Hamburger Mary’s. The event was called “Grrr, Woof”, and as one can tell by the name of the party, it was geared toward the gay bear set and their friends. We had a really fun time.

Since the marquee on the outside of the building said “Grrr, Woof, Tonight!”, I had to take a moment to wonder why there was a bachelorette party standing in the middle of the dance floor, not moving, when we arrived to a room otherwise filled with good sized men, most of whom had some sort of facial hair. Hamburger Mary’s isn’t in Boystown, where a lot of the bachelorette parties terrorize the streets along the gay bars in the traditional gayborhood. 

Now, I know that public venues are open to the public and I guess I wouldn’t want to see the bachelorette party thrown out of the place, but I can’t understand why they would want to be there in the first place. There were a couple of heavier go-go dancers from time to time. A fully bearded bear did a couple of drag performances on the stage. And there were a lot of sweaty, bigger, shirtless guys milling about the space quaintly named “Mary’s Attic”. But there in the middle of the dance floor was a smattering of women with short skirts, ridiculously high heels, and tiaras looking around looking for some sort of Twinkie fest and there was just none of that going on at this party called “Grrr, Woof!”.

The bachelorette party left after about 20 minutes of standing in the middle of dance floor looking uncomfortable. A second party came in about an hour later, but they bolted for the door as soon as they realized the aforementioned bear drag person was using the ladies’ room as a dressing room.

The gay ‘world’ is just as diverse as the rest of the world. I kind of feel like bachelorette parties are in search of the stereotypical, smooth, oh-so-cute, super thin, hyperventilating twink who breaks into tears every time Katy Perry walks onto his television screen. If you’re into that, OK, but don’t stand there in the middle of the dance floor gaping at the men with a disappointed look.

We know how to party.