UIC IBM vs. Mac

Dr. D. hard at work!

When I was a student at UIC, I wrote all of my papers on computers. I tried to do most of my writing on my own computer at home, but whenever I had free time between my classes I would use a computer in one of the few computer labs they had at the time.

I did a lot of writing on typewriters and then eagerly progressed to personal computers because of their word-processing capabilities. I was definitely an IBM aficionado since I couldn’t afford an Apple or a Macintosh. Our high school didn’t even have computers when I was a student.

Anyway, UIC had two types of computer labs: IBM or Macintosh. At first, no one used the IBM lab, so I had the lab pretty much too myself. Everybody was really into Macs at the time, although I’m not sure why. Supposedly, they were better than IBMs. Then there was a sudden shift in computing at UIC and I could hardly ever find an open IBM computer. Perhaps it was when IBM compatibles started using Windows, which was definitely inferior to the Mac operating system. I never did like those early versions of Microsoft Windows and stuck to MS-DOS 5.0 for much longer than most normal humans could endure.

Well, IBM’s were no longer readily available when I was. So being the adaptable person who I am, transformed myself into a Mac user. I have convinced myself that I can survive anywhere in the world, under any conditions. So, I sat down at a Mac computer for the first time in my life and started typing. When I looked at the screen, I couldn’t make heads nor tails of what I had written. You see, I can touch type and, when I put my fingers on the keyboard, I felt for the little bump in order to find the home keys. All electric typewriters and IBM keyboards always had those little bumps on the F and J keys. Mac, however, had the little bumps on the D and K keys. So my fingers were off by one key.

Macintosh always tried so hard to be different. Also maddening was waiting for the Mac to execute a command. Instead of the little hourglass to represent the waiting, a dialog box would appear that said, “Please wait. The computer is doing something real complicated right now.” So how was this better than an IBM computer? Well, I continued using IBMs and Macs, depending on which was available. To this day, I can go on any strange computer do some strange writing.


Video games

Guitar Hero guitar.

My sons often ask me what video games I played when I was growing up. They cannot conceive of a world or a childhood without video games. So the next question is something along the lines of, “Were you bored?” or “What did you do all day?”  For fun, I told them, we played board games, but they heard “bored” games. They never play games like Monopoly because they think they’re boring. That’s because they’ve gotten so used to video games.

On the other hand, they can’t understand why I don’t play video games with them. I just can’t get into video games. I never played them when I was little. The only video game I ever played was Pong! And that was in high school. Pong was so boring. I preferred to play chess, another board game (not bored game!). But my sons also like to play an occasional game of chess with me.

Some people think that video games are bad because they make the players lazy and they don’t get enough exercise, but they do develop a different kind of intelligence as recent research has proven. Grand Theft Auto is supposedly bad for children because of all the violence. People criticize me because I allow my sons to play every video game that they like regardless of the content. Well, two of my three sons played GTA and the one who didn’t play the game had the lowest grades in school. The two sons who played it eventually lost interest in the game. Perhaps because I allowed them to play and didn’t criticize them for it.

I like the auto thief (in real life) who attempted to use GTA as a defense for his having stolen multiple automobiles. GTA made him steal the cars. Verdict? He was found guilty of auto theft! What a poor excuse for lack of self-control.

When my sons played GTA, they never asked to drive a car, much less attempted to steal one. My sons also like to play World of Warcraft, which they first discovered from watching South Park. I like WoW because it occasionally involves reading and writing. I haven’t played it all, but I like to look on.

The players can IM each other about the game or anything else they like. I like when they dance like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever even though they’re supposed to me in the Middle Ages. What I like best about WoW is that the game hardly has any bugs or glitches. In fact, I have a very, old obsolete Pentium III computer that I have upgraded several times with a bigger hard drive, more memory, and a better graphics card, but it’s too slow to even check my e-mail. However, WoW runs quickly and smoothly on this computer. They must do all the graphics and computer processing on their servers. These people really know how to deliver a product!


I still enjoy watching Monty Python.

My first recollection of Spam is eating it at home. Fried. With tortillas. I was fascinated with the whole process of opening up the can with the little key that was attached at the bottom. When my mother finally opened the can, I was expecting to see sardines. Not ham because the can was too small. So my mother fried the Spam and served it to us on tortillas. We ate it occasionally just to vary our diet a little. But not too much since we always ate beans, rice, and tortillas at almost every meal.

Since I am speaking of Spam, I am reminded of a certain British Comedy troupe who coined the term spam for all that unwanted e-mail that we receive. But not intentionally. They had a skit in which the waiter recites the menu, most of which is comprised of Spam.

When I was in high school, one of my friends introduced me to Monty Python’s Flying Circus on PBS, Sunday nights at 10 p.m. I was so young and naive that I just didn’t get the show. Who exactly was Monty Python? Where were the trapeze artists? Where was their tent? What strange language were they speaking?

Of course, I knew better than to actually ask anyone these questions. You know how teachers and college professors say there is no such thing as a stupid question? Well, I’m convinced that all my questions were stupid judging by the looks of the people who heard them when I occasionally voiced them. So I never asked questions.

I discovered that Monty Python spoke English–English English, as opposed to American English. Luckily, one of my friends was an English to English translator and he explained the jokes that I didn’t get, which was basically all of them. I would have quit watching Monty Python immediately if it weren’t for my friends and the home where we watched the show.

It started quite by accident when we were at Myrna’s house one Sunday night. Her father, we called him by his first name Tom, told us we had to leave about 10 p.m. because he had to get up early on Monday morning to go to work. He had been watching PBS and then Monty Python started on the tele. One of our friends had actually seen the show before and explained to the rest of us that it was a British comedy. Well, this piqued Tom’s interest and we all sat around to watch it. He forgot all about sending us away until the show was over.

The next Sunday, we all watched Monty Python again at Myrna’s house. We really loved the show and I eventually laughed because I got all the jokes without the aid of an interpreter. One Sunday, Tom told us that we couldn’t come over to watch Monty Python anymore. We watched it at Cecilia’s house for a few weeks, but it just wasn’t the same. Luckily, Myrna told us that we were invited back to her house on Sunday nights to watch Monty Python with her father. He told us that he missed us while watching Monty Python. So every Sunday night we watched Monty Python with Myrna and her father Tom.

But getting back to Spam, that was the skit we re-enacted the most. So the Internet term spam is derived from the Monty Python skit in the restaurant where just about everything on the menu includes Spam: “Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, eggs, and Spam,” etc.

Well, I thought of all this because of all the spam that I’ve been receiving lately. The maddening thing about spam is not so much that I receive a lot of spam, but rather that I have started to receive it from myself, too! And, I’m fairly sure that I didn’t send it out. I’m not sure why, but I thought I would share some of the Subject lines with you (in no particular order):

  1. You want yours bigger, all men do
  2. Iva debt consolidation
  3. I hadn’t had sex for a while
  4. Whip out your huge manhood
  5. Best offer in gambling history
  6. Huge discount watches
  7. Start seeing dollars pouring in
  8. How about a $2400 welcome bonus
  9. Best Rolex Replica
  10. Elite products for your style and reputation
  11. Enlargement of organs possible
  12. After that it’s only fun and winning
  13. Affordable luxury online in the world’s no. 1 rated replica watch store
  14. Legal software sales
  15. Gravidty (sic)
  16. Win $$$
  17. 10 inches is possible
  18. Online University Diploma degrees
  19. You have just received an e-card
  20. Penis Products Reviewed
  21. Looking for a watch? Visit Replica Classics
  22. Great sex secrets revealed
  23. Your diamond replicas
  24. Perfectly crafted luxury timepieces
  25. Suffer from short babymaker? Don’t loose (sic), the only solution is here.
  26. 15 mistakes every woman made
  27. We give out BONUSES to anyone who joins
  28. Stunning video with naked celebrity
  29. Unsecured debt consolidation loan
  30. Hey
  31. Male enhancement
  32. Small male aggregate is not trouble
  33. Convenient discreet online pharmacy
  34. Real enlargement
  35. Shaved pussies sell better
  36. Come find out
  37. Lovely present
  38. The opportunity presented itself
  39. I was “horny”
  40. Hot sexy latinas all craving for you
  41. Rejoice in your newfound girth
  42. This e-card is hillarious
  43. Do not let them mock at small weener (sic)
  44. Obtain PhD of your desire
  45. Take her longer, harder, and deeper
  46. Need a great gift idea?
  47. Drugstore which guarantees quality
  48. Size enhancement a scam?
  49. Shiny pieces of sheer beauty
  50. Want to be a hero in bed?
  51. Three inches in just weeks