Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

C64, Matt Pinfield

I’ve spent the last few hours hacking away at a new replacement to the underlying structure of this journal. Nothing major will change to you the readers; I’m just trying to redo the back part of it using PHP to make it run a bit smoother and make changes easier. The two visible changes are that the date that you are currently viewing will not be a link to the left, it will be a black, bold date so you can kind of see where you are in the list. And the better change is that I will be able to put an earlier and later button down at the bottom of the page. The only other noticeable change will be that if you go to the index, it will bring up the newest one, and if you click into older ones, the URL will end in ?date=20030101 or whatever. I don’t think that will be that big of a deal, although if you bookmarked an exact date in the past, that bookmark won’t work anymore. I don’t think that will really be an issue for many people, though.

Working in PHP is pretty cool, although I never sat down and studied it or anything – I just jumped in and tried to dig up stuff on google as I got along. It wasn’t really that frustrating, probably because even with a ten-years-rusty knowledge of C, I can figure out a lot of the syntax. It’s fun to have a small project like this to hack away at. It reminds me of when I first started this journal five – no wait, six – years ago, and I hacked together the indexing program that this new overhaul will probably replace. Although I don’t think I could ever become systematic enough to become a software developer on a professional basis, there is something satisfying about slapping together a piece of code that you actually use to get something done.

Speaking of computers, I got back all of my Commodore stuff yesterday. I have a C-64 that I got from eBay maybe five or six years ago. I haven’t touched it in ages; it was actually still in storage at Marie’s place. But I got it all back, and cabled together the unit and the 1541 drive on my living room floor, running the video into my VCR so it would display on the TV. The keyboard was dirty and a few of the keys wouldn’t work without slamming them a few times, and then they would work too much and print repeated letters. Also, all of my cartridges would not work. But I did get the disk drive running, and got the Ghostbusters game going, which is the only thing I have on floppy. It takes forever to load, and then has the most rudimentary voice samples ever, plus some very cheesy theme music in it. But it was still fun to mess with. Today I got some cleaner at Radio Shack and took apart the keyboard and got it running slightly better, and also got the game cartridges working after I cleaned the contacts. I spent part of the afternoon playing Omega Race and Jupiter Lander, and thinking of almost 20 years ago when I played the same carts on my original C-64.

Very tired, and not much else is up. I saw Matt Pinfield yesterday, in the elevator on the way out of work. I guess there’s a recording studio at the top of our building, run by Phillip Glass. I got into the elevator at work and saw the dude, although he was much shorter than I thought. He was listening on a cell phone and I wasn’t sure if it was him or not, so I waited until he talked, and then I definitely knew it was him. He was talking to someone about a recording session, but I don’t know what band or if he produces or what. I have no idea if he is still a VJ at MTV or not. I just did a search on him, and mostly found sites of people that hate him. Anyway, it was a weird sighting.

It’s been raining all weekend, pouring out. It’s been an incredible non-day and I think it’s time for bed…