Farewell Old Friends

I finally took all my old computers and peripherals to the electronics recycling boneyard at the county landfill.  What you don't see:  a huge '80's radio/cassette/CD boom box, a garbage bag full of keyboards, (one with s serial port connector!), ball mice, LAN cards, a rat's nest of cables and cords, two "game port" joysticks.

I had already gotten rid of my newest old Windows XP PC, which died in early 2014.  I let a computer guy have it in return for transferring its files to an external hard drive.

I held on to these as part of a fantasy about playing old games on them: preserving classics like Age of Rifles, Red Baron 3D and Longbow 2 on machines they were made for, rather than trying to get them to work on newer OS's.  But the years went by, and finally I had to face that those days were gone forever.

On the left you see my AMD K6_2 300 mhz PC, which I bought from a local shop, Compu-Wiz, in 1998.  I was in the middle of grad school, writing my papers on a hand-me-down Compaq DeskPro 386, offline, saving them on a floppy disk to print or e-mail at work.

The K6-2 had Win98, a dial-up modem, and a 3.2 gb hard drive, and it blew my mind.  The times we had, I and my old K6-2!  I even dual-booted with several versions of Linux.  Observe how it is stained from cigarette smoke, (I quit three years ago).

On the right is its successor, which was my graduation present to myself in 2001.  The K6-2 wasn't powerful enough to play Red Baron 3D with mods installed.  I was done with school, and ready to have some fun.  The new machine had an AMD Athlon Thunderbird 1 ghz processor and a massive 40 gb hard drive.  Still Windows 98, though, which I would hang on to until it was hopelessly out of date.

I joined an online squadron, JGS4, and in the summer of 2002 we won the championship.

Me, bombing an aerodrome.
I gave up online gaming after that, but enjoyed Red Baron single-player campaigns for quite a long time.

I believe it was phone company and ISP changes that forced me to upgrade to a new PC.  Sprint became Embarq.  The quality of their DSL service was unsatisfactory, and I switched to Comcast cable, which I have never regretted.  In January 2008 I bought a Windows XP machine from Velocity Micro, which lasted until 2014.  Then I bought my present PC, a Dell 8700 Intel 3.10 ghz with Windows 7.

I know that things must change, not least in technology.  The market needed improvements in operating systems, browsers, networks, and so on.  Now we have social networks, YouTube, Google Apps, smartphones, all of which I use and enjoy.  But that Athlon PC with Windows 98 and Red Baron 3D was the golden age for me.


By the Seaside

R. and I took a day-trip to Seaside, the planned beach town west of Panama City on the Florida panhandle.  As we arrived on Highway 30-A, it immediately felt different from the usual Florida coastal sprawl:  quaint cottages, people in beachwear coasting along on bike-paths.  I joked to R. that I felt like I was in an episode of The Prisoner.  Then we came to the town center and easily found a place to park.  We were glad we came on a Wednesday, because even so there were a lot of visitors.  We changed in convenient public restrooms and headed for the beach.  Now, I laughed, the big white ball couldn't single us out!

The forecast had been for a good chance of rain, but a brisk sea-breeze kept the day sunny and not oppressively hot.  R. loitered at the water's edge while I took my dip.  I had not been to the beach in years.  The brine washed over me.  The rolling waves pushed me this way and that.  I swam underwater with my eyes open, welcoming the salty sting on my much-operated-upon orbs.  (I had cataract and cornea surgeries in '13 and '14.)  The working of the sea exercised me, and after thirty minutes or so it was time for lunch.

High above the beach, eating a fish sandwich and drinking iced tea, I was happy, and so was R.

Now it was time for shopping.  One of those little "pattern language" things:  there were lots of places for a hubby to chill while his wife noses around in shops.

This is an area called "the shops of Ruskin", with galleries and boutiques.  I didn't bother to take a picture, but Seaside has a very fine bookstore,  Sundog Books.  If I were not a librarian and lived in Seaside, Sundog would meet all my needs.  Just excellent.

Sign for a country church on Highway 20 that says it all.


The Roof of the Library

Seen from the staff lounge on the third floor.


The Tower

Maybe reading Stuart Kaminsky's Rostnikov mysteries evoked it from my memory, but this morning a picture of the leaning tower of Pisa on a bookmark in a donated book made me think of Tatlin's Tower, the proposed monument to the Third International.

Models survive in Moscow, Paris, London, Stockholm, but apparently not in Berlin, where I saw one in the dusty display window of an empty building in 1978.  It is a pity that it was never built.


Reference Workroom, Then and Now

We were talking about a slogan that one heard during the recession of 2008 and after, "doing more with less".  I said, jokingly, that we ended up doing less with less, but in a way it's true.  The agent of change was not so much lean times, but automation:  of acquisitions, (ipage), of reference transactions, (Google, etcetera), of interlibrary loan, (ILLiad).  Our workroom bears a kind of witness to these changes.



Workroom annex, built 2003?
Where did all the paper go?


St. Augustine Branch 2009: Before Cascades Park

I took these photos five years ago.  Now that the area has been completely remade into Cascades Park, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back.

The rest of these were taken through a chain-link fence.


More Walks

The weather has been gorgeous.  Highs in the '60s, lows at night in the '30s, clear and sunny.

My street, Sarasota Drive, looking east.
Alban Avenue
Camellias are blooming       
This little mid-century modern on Maple Drive is a favorite of ours.  It's behind our house.
A saucer magnolia.  Spring is a long way off, but the dogwoods and redbuds are already blooming as well.
Holly trees are heavy with fruit.
Chapman Pond was busy with Hooded Mergansers and Canada geese.


Old Fort Park

Old Fort Park is about a block from my house.  It isn't much of a fort.  It was a Civil War era observation post with perhaps an artillery piece, overlooking the approach to Tallahassee from the Gulf coast.

The park is the site of our Woodland Drives Neighborhood Association picnics.  People walk their dogs there, children play games.

An historical marker at the park reads:
This earth work located on ground once part of the plantation of E.A. Houston, father of Captain Patrick Houston (later state adjutant general) who commanded the Confederate artillery at the Battle of Natural Bridge, is a silent witness of the efforts of the citizens of Tallahassee to protect the capitol of Florida from capture by federal troops under General John Newton.

Newton's force landed at St. Marks light house and advanced up the east side of the St. Marks River, only to be decisively repulsed at Natural Bridge on March 6, 1865, by a hurriedly assembled Confederate force commanded by General Sam Jones, which included a company of cadets from the West Florida Seminary, now Florida State University.
So not a shot was fired in anger from this fort, nor a Yankee seen.


There is another line of breastworks downhill to the south in someone's back yard.  I saw them once when the house was for sale.

These were taken with my Droid Mini phone.  Not bad at all.


Long Walks

Two weeks off.  I used so much sick leave for my eye surgeries last year that I have to use some "annual" leave this month or lose it.  It's been very cold for Florida, hat & coat weather, but I have to move or my mind stagnates.

Back to my Canon S90 here.  Far superior to my Droid Mini's camera, and no more trouble to carry.

Sarasota & Country Club Drive; built in the 1920's.

Northeast perimeter of the golf course.

Where to send your golf ball.

Houses facing Old Fort Park at Seminole & Maple

House at Azalea Dr. & Alban Ave.

Ferns in my yard after a hard freeze.