Christmas Eve

It sure would have been nice if there was some snow on the ground or at least some flurries falling… but we get what we get. πŸ™‚ And tomorrow, that will be 50 degrees and mostly sunny throughout the day.

I’m spending this evening watching a bunch of Christmas specials and movies, getting as much “in the spirit” as I think I’m gonna be able… plus during the day I’ve been texting with Dad, Genesee, Bri, Squirtman, and Cassi… so even though I’ve not been feeling good enough to go out and do anything – at least I’m still keeping in touch with folks. (I’ll assume Amy’s lack of reply today is because she has a house full of boys that will be awaiting Santa’s services, which may also be taking up a good chunk of her time and energy. 😏 )

This is the first Christmas without Mom, and that’s sure full of suck… 😒 but I’m doing my best to focus on all the good memories from my childhood, when Mom and Dad made sure that Santa delivered quite the elaborate experience. 😌 Remembering the music, the big old complicated tree, the bubble lights, the angel tree-topper with the cotton all around the base, hanging up all of the ugly ornaments that I’d make – including an “ET” alien, obscene amounts of icicles, leaving out cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, leaving a letter for Santa and getting a reply the next day, the little boot that got filled with M&Ms, and opening presents such as a Knight Rider slot-car track, my first Atari 2600, a talking KITT car, a little programmable robot that made all kinds of racket, Dukes of Hazzard BarnBusters stunt set, etc…

(Crikey… 😯 don’t look at how much that stuff is actually going for now… it almost hurts. πŸ˜… )

Back then it was probably 50/50 “about the presents” for me – but now, of course, it’s all about the memories surrounding everything. 😌 I hope that all parents do their best to see that Santa gives their kids at least half as good of an experience as I had – cuz even at that, they’d still be happy. It’s strange how few years the “Santa” years really were, yet Christmas still retained that same feeling all through the years. And those relatively few “Santa” years still feel like they went on forever back then. 😌

Commodore Screwed Up

Seriously, compare these C64 demos, made recently, to what an Apple II could do…

(I love that there’s still cracking / demoscene groups around from when I was a kid… gettin’ old together. 😎)

Commodore really shit the bed when it came to taking advantage of the audio, visual, and processing advantages that they had over the competition back then… hell, all the way up to the Amiga line of computers. Amiga 500 computers with genlocks were being used by television stations when PC compatibles were barely starting to show what they could do. It’s a shame… I’ll have to read my two Commodore books some day to figure out what went wrong. 😏

More Nostalgia

I live in the past more than I probably should, but the past day or two have been nice… old memories being brought back to life as I texted back and forth with Dad last night. πŸ™‚ I can’t even remember how we got on the subject, but around my junior high years we moved to a house in the country – significantly different in almost every way from our former place, and of course with me going to a new school. 😳

Oh, I remember… we were talking about all of our various kitties over the years. And while living out on the hill, the strays apparently came with the house. 😏 But because they weren’t really pet pets, and I don’t say that to belittle their worth in any way, but between that and me being rather young – I had forgotten a lot about them. 😟 But once Dad mentioned their names, all these memories instantly popped back into my head. Weird how the brain can have stuff stored away that well, where you can’t even access it by just trying – but an outside influence can provide the key. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

But yeah, memories of the outside kitties, memories of the bus driver forgetting that a new kid now lived in that house – and therefore blowing past me as I stood in the dark, in the snow… πŸ˜„ I remember more about the bus rides and the time spent with my couple of good friends at that new school than I do about the time actually in school. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Moving was a pretty big deal, so it was nice to go back to the town where I originally started school eventually. But another pretty kewl memory… getting a portable little B/W TV one Christmas, that I could take in my bedroom to watch broadcast TV at night as I went to sleep. (Man… I’m old… lol) I’m not sure if I was supposed to be watching TV, but yeah…

Then I wake up today, start clicking around through YouTube on the TV, and they suggested a video from 8-Bit Guy about the new “The C64” full sized Commodore 64 replica / emulator with functional keyboard. πŸ˜ƒ My first computer was a VIC-20 that Dad and I got at Hamvention. I can’t remember how much it was, but I feel like it was pretty reasonable… a big box full of VIC shit along with the computer. πŸ€“ No disk drive yet, but then later on I upgraded along the Commodore path to the C64 with a 1541-II drive – as did my cousin – which lead to lots of “freeware” copying with him and friends. πŸ€«πŸ˜„

But of course since that was such a big part of my childhood, seeing this thing instantly made me want it. 🀀

Believe it or not, I had actually already ordered one from these folks years ago. They had a crowdfunding thing going on, but then they decided to produce The C64 Mini first due to the then-fad of “mini” game consoles being released. It was probably the right move, at least to fill their bank accounts, but it delayed the full sized version – so I requested and got a refund. πŸ˜• Since then I’ve gotten the Mini though, and now, years after it was due to come out, it looks like I’ll eventually be getting a full-sized version as well. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I can use the excuse that the audio and video lag on the full sized version is less than the Mini, so not only will it be nice to have the keyboard – but technically there is a performance improvement since they’ve optimized the emulator code. (Not to mention double the USB ports, which is a bigger deal than you’d think.)

Not sure why they didn’t go the FPGA route, but it looks good enough for me.

Okay, I’m Kinda Excited…

Ghostbusters is in my Top 5 favorite movies ever… so it’s hard to not get anxious when this trailer dropped (somewhat out of the blue) for a third Ghostbusters movie next summer. One that looks like it will treat the franchise and characters with the respect that they deserve and not as fodder for lame jokey improv…

Now, I could be wrong about all of that… but at least they’ve filled the trailer with easter eggs and nostalgia bait for all of us fans, to at least make it feel like this movie has potential. And from what I’ve read, it sounds like all the main players – minus Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler (passed away) and Rick Moranis as Louis Tulley (retired after his wife passed away) – will be in the film in some capacity, even if just as elongated cameos. And again, unlike Ghostbusters 2016, where there were several strange / poorly conceived cameos from the leads… I think this time they’ve gotta a pretty good chance of getting it right.

“There hasn’t been a ghost sighting in 30 years.” = “Ghostbusters 2016? Never heard of it.” πŸ˜…

Phones: Everything’s Easier

Speaking of the holidays… over the past couple of days I’ve been trying to get my phone loaded up with all of our familiar family Christmas songs. Most of them are everyone else’s family songs as well, sung by old favorites, and those are pretty easily found on Spotify. πŸ˜‹πŸŽ„πŸŽΆ So I just pick the ones that I want and add them to a playlist. The good cheezy 70s sounding ones though, the ones on obscure albums or even records that Firestone and Goodyear would give away each year… those are a bit more difficult to come by.

Terry Baxter and His Orchestra… I had to go on Amazon a few years ago and buy one particular album in MP3 format, which I now have to actually copy over to my phone – rather than just streaming them like the others on Spotify. And it’s funny, there are a few albums that were released under that artist’s name – but upon googling to find out what he looked like, or just more about him in general… it turns out that it was likely just a name that the record company put on albums of similar sound, when they were really just performed by a house band or even different folks. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

(In the upper right corner of this video you can select from 42 songs in the playlist for this album.)

Doesn’t make any difference to me… but still, that’s an interesting thing to find out about 40 years later. But now I’ve got all the happy ones, some sad ones, 8-bit / chiptune Christmas covers, and even a few from the South Park / Mr Hankey Christmas episode ready to go. πŸ˜‹ I’m doing all this now, while I’m in a decent mood, because I wanna try a little harder this year to not let the whole season just blow by me. For various reasons over the past several years, the “holiday mood” has been harder to come by – but being able to play these songs as I fart around the house or drive in town for food or whatever… it’ll help.

I still need to find a good version of “Christmas Chimes are Calling” from one of my favorite specials:

Now I have to look in the basement at some point and see if I still have a tree. πŸ€”πŸ§

Boring Dream Talk

Had several dreams last night that made sure my sleep quality was pretty shit, and while I can’t remember many of the details – I do remember the part that’s often a recurring part of my dreams. 😬 I’m sure I’ve written about it in general before, because I like that over the decades that I’ve been alive – there have been some fictional dream locations, plots, set dressing type items, fictional people, etc that I’ve experienced many times over again in separate dreams. πŸ˜―πŸ€“

Sometimes it’s all in one night, where I’ll wake up from a dream for a bit, fall back to sleep, and the dream will pick up right where it left off… but I’ve also had dreams as a kid, where the location didn’t get used in a dream again until decades later – while still being instantly recognizable to me. 😊 All of that subconscious stuff just fascinates me, especially when I have some friends who say they are never even able to remember their dreams, let alone experience familiarity in them over years and years. It actually makes me feel bad for them, not even realizing what they’re missing.

Last night didn’t have any of the “fun” flavors of familiarity though. I’m not sure if you’d call it a plot point or just a recurring experience, with it not even fitting in with the actual “story” of the dream most of the time, and it’s strange enough that I couldn’t even tell you where the idea originates. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ There’s no non-weird way to describe it… but I guess you’d basically call it “clogged mouth syndrome” or something.

Most of the time it doesn’t fall into “nightmare” territory, but it’s definitely an uncomfortable feeling, and usually ends up with me waking up from it. 😟 Sometimes my mouth is clogged with some kind of food, but usually it ends up being either bubble gum or paper for some reason. 🀨 Last night was paper. πŸ™„ But it’s always the same thing – mouth is completely crammed full of whatever, so much so that I can’t swallow, can’t push it out with my tongue, can’t talk, etc… I mean, just picture ripping out pages of a notebook and cramming sheets into your mouth until you can’t possibly fit any more in, and there ya go. 😳 Fun, eh?

It’s almost always remedied in the same way. It causes a delay in whatever is going on, because I have to stop and use my fingers to dig all the stuff out of my mouth until I can swallow, shut, breathe, or otherwise have use of my mouth again. It’s a frantic feeling, but not like choking, and not like it’s gonna kill me or anything. All I remember from last night is that it happened while me and someone else were trying to climb up a ladder to get out of some situation, but I had to stop and dig all the soggy, spit covered globs of paper out of my mouth before I started the climb, because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to breathe by the time I had gotten half-way to the top. πŸ™„πŸ˜„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

But yeah, that’s about it. Most boring dream recollection story ever, other than the amusing recurring things that I deal with… one that I’d be happy to give up, obviously. The other recurring things though, I feel lucky to have them. πŸ™‚ Absolutely fictional locations or people, that for whatever reason I end up visiting or seeing over and over again across the years. It’s like when you have a regular vacation destination that ends up being a familiar, true part of your life… having imagined locations and people, that have that same feeling of familiarity and real-ness to them, it’s just neat andΒ makes you wonder how and why it happens.

I Have My Reasons

Still hangin’ in there, still waiting through this process… 😟 of which the next step will be Monday, when I’ll get (what should be) my final lab work done before they decide if my levels are where they need to be for the radiation dose the following week. πŸ’‰πŸ˜¬πŸ“‰ I’m more anxious about the test than I am the dose later, simply because there’s a chance my levels won’t be right – which would mean going even longer without taking my thyroid meds, until they are. 😐 Without elaborating, I really, really don’t want to have to do this a day longer than I absolutely have to.

Unless it’s unavoidable I’m pretty much just staying at home and trying not to move around too much, to keep from throwing everything even more out of whack. I can’t fake my way through feeling okay right now, so staying at home lets me feel how I feel, protects me from anything that might make it worse, and protects others from having to see me like this, acting how I actually feel. πŸ₯Ί My “game face” is out of order. (I haven’t even been on Facebook for days and days, and the last time was to just let everyone know I was okay. I really hate how this has been affecting my interactions (or lack thereof) with friends and family.)

And I don’t blame people for being concerned, or not knowing how to react, when the topic is cancer and there’s still more “unknown” than “you’ll be fine” at the moment. But this current craptacular phase of “bleh” isn’t (likely) caused by anything cancer related, but is actually due to not being able to take the thyroid meds that I need. But to everyone else, I’m sure it looks and feels as if cancer is kicking my ass, which leads to all sorts of difficult and crappy emotions.

Toni and Shannon invited me out for a bonfire last night, and in my heart I wanted to go… but I wouldn’t have been able to conceal how I felt, physically or mentally, and I honestly didn’t want to be a buzzkill on their evening – which is what I likely would have been. πŸ˜’ If it turns out that the doctors weren’t able to remove all of the cancer, or if it has spread or changed or anything… that’s when I’d be more willing to let people feel bad for me, to treat me differently, etc. I do feel like hell right now, but I would feel like it would come across as “crying wolf” – since even though I know why I’m sick, that’s not how everyone else is gonna see it. I reassure people that I’ll let them know if there comes a time when they truly shouldΒ be concerned or worried for me, so I hope they know I mean that.

Meh… anyway… see what I mean about my mood? The same way I ramble about it on here now and then, I just didn’t wanna end up doing that to them last night. (Or to anyone, really…) Instead, thanks to Shannon texting me again this morning to let me know, they all had a good evening. Sharing lots of happy memories and stories about Mom, while still commenting on how it doesn’t seem real, how it doesn’t seem fair, and how as we all get older – how it’s getting harder to escape all of this type of bleh. Having me there, in my condition, certainly wouldn’t have helped to change that opinion.

But with any luck I’ll get to be one of those surprise cases in the future, where we’ll all be sitting around together, upset at whatever injustices we’re seeing or experiencing, but then someone will be able to say “But hey, you had cancer and you’re still here and fine now… so there’s always hope…” πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™πŸ»