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Yea it is nitty, and verily it is gritty also

ibm xt clone

Okay, here’s where it all becomes a lucky happy pink fluffy buttload of playtime joy. The real estate lady looked upon my Mighty Pile and instantly decided it would be quicker if I picked out the few things worth keeping and then turned the ragpickers loose.

I’ve never liked throwing things away (which is how we got here). I’ve never been one for new beginnings and fresh starts. But it’s finally dawning on me that nobody’s waiting to compose my hagiography; that my every post-it note and snotrag is not a precious relic; that rubbing my adolescent journals on lepers will not make them clean. In fact — on the whole — I would rather the world not remember what a spoiled, whiny, self-absorbed unpleasant little proto-emo toe-rag I was at sixteen.

So here we go. I guess it says something not-flattering about me that the idea of throwing out my first computer is a whole lot harder to bear than the idea of throwing away letters from my first serious boyfriend.

After all, that computer is an XT clone with a Phoenix BIOS — the first proper cloned PC. “Phoenix” because the company rose anew from the ashes of its lawsuit with IBM. Ironically, IBM’s loss is what tilted the nascent PC market toward IBM and away from Apple, since there were cheap clones of the former and not (still not) of the latter. “Cheap” is relative, of course: I had to take out a loan for $2,500 to buy it — a very serious chunk of change in 1985 weaselbucks. Still, it ran at 9.44 MHz (as opposed to the 4.77 MHz for a genuine IBM XT), had an RGB monitor, a 20 meg hard drive AND two floppies (one of which was double density). I combed Computer Shopper for months before I picked this one out.

And the boyfriend was just some lovesick twit I grew up with.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 14, 2007, 8:08 pm

Hm. The Wikipedia article implicitly puts the “Phoenix” name before the lawsuit. All’s I can say is, that’s not the way I heard it in 1985.

I found an overdraft notice from 1983 in a desk drawer tonight. It was typed. On a typewriter. By a human being. And signed. In ballpoint pen. By another.

Really, that’s the way it was done. And, of course, it had to be done that way. How else?

Lest you think what giant labor- and cost-savers computers were, though, I remember an IT dude bragging to me about killing the General Office pool. G.O. was the department full of ladies who typed stuff like that all day.

And I remember thinking in 1980-something dollars, “so we got rid of 30 old biddies making $15,000 a year and picked up 50 IT guys making $50,000 a year. Hm. Cost savings.”

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: November 14, 2007, 9:38 pm

Wiki is often inaccurate, especially about stuff just like this. I wouldn’t necessarily question your own memory first.

Weas, truth be told, you probably need this pack rat catharsis. Just sayin’, based on your own past descriptions.

Happened to me a while back; probably happens to everyone with even a hint of pack rat DNA. Cleans the pores out.

Have a drink and try to get into it. If necessary, send a therapeutic moon to Badger. Couldn’t hurt.

Comment from geoff
Time: November 14, 2007, 10:24 pm

I remember my XT – it was a “THE” computer bought at the end of 1986. I had to share it with everybody else in the office. We bought a monstrous 30 MB hard drive for it for the incredibly low price of $500. That hard drive held every application and file for all four people.

Now, of course, I’ve filled an 80 GB hard drive by myself (which was a great excuse to get a new laptop a couple of weeks ago – this one with 320 GB).

Comment from Dawn
Time: November 15, 2007, 1:17 am

I love to get rid of my things. The problem with me is that I hate to waste. So, old junk and clothes go in bags and boxes to be given away to the needy. And then it rides around with me in my trunk until I get so tired of forgetting to unload it, that I eventually just throw it away anyways.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 15, 2007, 8:00 am

Spooky. Last night, a rental truck pulled up to my garage, five elves tumbled out, and My Stuff vanished. (Not all my stuff, of course, but a very substantial chunk of it). My poor little car was covered in a layer of…pixie dust this morning.

Several panels are out of the garage door, so I’m guessing the few things I tried to hold on to — my lawn mower and rake and stuff — will be inherited one of my miscreant neighbors in the near future.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: November 15, 2007, 11:49 am

Waxing gibbeous
On its way to Badgerland:
Therapeutic Moon.

Comment from nbpundit
Time: November 15, 2007, 1:55 pm

Ah yesssss…flight simulator!

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: November 15, 2007, 5:12 pm

Per the recent AoS Moron activities, I have just added “Therapeutic Mooning” the this calender on November 16th:


“Mooning as a stress repief option – in conjunction with booger haiku writing and Stuff ragpicking.”

Now I can rest.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: November 15, 2007, 5:18 pm

Oh, yeah. Don’t click on the “Spencer” link in the calender topic details. Trust me.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 15, 2007, 5:52 pm

Is the link working? I couldn’t get it to load earlier and had to read the screen-captured version.

For those not following at Ace’s, those boneheaded hippie protesters who were disrupting military traffic around Olympia, WA, had an event calendar that just anybody could add dates and events to. So the morons did. Hilarity ensued.

Comment from Dawn
Time: November 15, 2007, 5:55 pm

Steamboat – I LOL’d!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 15, 2007, 6:01 pm

Okay, who posted the Rachel Corrie Pancake Breakfast?

(That’s a different calendar from the screencap one).,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 15, 2007, 6:03 pm

The commas belong to Damien, who is SEVERELY PISSED when I try to type when he’s busy napping on the keyboard. I’m just waiting for official drinkin’ time so I can go in the basement and biff more old correspondence.

And there it is! w00t!

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: November 15, 2007, 6:18 pm

I saw that Corrie pancake breakfast – damn near spewed onto my monitor.

Some of these AoS items are priceless! And the calendar owners still haven’t noticed, apparently.

BTW: I repeat – do not click on the Spencer link, or any that look like AoS added links. They go to truly evil places…

Drink, Weasel! Tipple ruthlessly! And think about all the progress you’ve made this week! You are … Stuffless.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 15, 2007, 6:52 pm

No no…so far, it’s only a stuff reduction. The radical stuffectomy comes next week, while I’m away for Thanksgiving.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: November 15, 2007, 7:06 pm

So… while your stuffing yourself with stuffing, your stuff will become unstuff.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: November 15, 2007, 7:51 pm

A…Reduction in Stuff. Done fairly and without regard to seniority? Yeah, we’ve all heard that before.

Pretty mean of you, Weasel, to let your Stuff all go over the Holidays with no warning. I hope you’re offering a comp package for at least the senior Stuff? Oh! Wait. I remember now. You outsourced the best of ’em to other employers – didn’t you? That was very kind of you.

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: November 15, 2007, 11:06 pm

I did a stuffectomy after I graduated. I finally accepted that I didn’t need to keep my old exams from Engineering 111, just in case. I also accepted that since I would be working full-time, I no longer needed a couple months’ worth of T-shirts and white athletic socks. I also managed to accept that I didn’t need to keep old, dried-out glue sticks, even though a little water would reconstitute them. (I seriously had that argument with myself.)

It was hard, but I felt a lot better afterward. Of course, I just started collecting things again. I expect that if/when I get married and/or move, I’ll have to do it again. But the Star Trek action figures aren’t going anywhere. I hooked the boy with those, and I’ll need them to reel him in all the way.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 16, 2007, 6:09 am

Funny you should say that, Mrs P. I tossed my single Star Trek action figure last night. I imagined trying to explain Kira Nerys to Uncle B and failed.

Anyhow, that show got real stupid after, like, season 4 or 5.

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