5. thought different.

I arrived in Athens, Ohio, in the fall of 1985. As I moved in at Washington Hall, I met my roommate for the first time. He had all the normal moving into college stuff — clothes, some music, stuff to hang on the walls.

But he also had a small, black vinyl bag, like a little suitcase. It was one of the last things he unpacked. He did so carefully, gently placing the bag and its contents on one of the two desks in the room. I hadn’t seen it before, but I knew what it was.

It was a Macintosh.

My roommate turned out to be kind of a tool, but he said I could use the Mac whenever I wanted. I used it a lot. My mother had an Apple II that I had a hard time deciphering, but the Mac was a whole different experience. No deciphering necessary. Jump in. Start doing.

My roommate and I managed to tolerate each other until January, and I moved to a different room. I didn’t miss him, but I missed that computer, especially after I started working at the student newspaper at OU. There were computers there, sort of. We had these black-box word processors and we had a newer system, which we not-so-lovingly called the POS (that actually stood for something besides Pieces of Shit, which was the common name in the newsroom). We had to code headlines, bylines, different type styles we used in the paper.

And I missed that Mac.

I didn’t return to The Post right away when I returned to Athens after the Army, but when I did, I was in for a nice surprise. We wrote stories on Mac Classics. We did all the design and pagination on Mac Quadras. And if we had technical problems during a late night, it was mostly because of the OOPS, our massive typesetting beast, and not the computers. Again — it was easy.

And since then, I’ve been hooked. Yes, I’ve worked on PCs since I started the professional portion of my career — and I’ve become pretty comfortable with them. But when I’ve had a choice about what we’ve used at home, I’ve always turned to Apple. I had — still have, actually — a Bondi Blue iMac (Rev. B, because I know you’re wondering). That was replaced with an eMac that still lives a happy life in my mother in law’s house. And I’m hoping that the iMac I’m writing this on will be with us for years.

And that says nothing of the other things. The music freak in me is still grateful for the old iPod that allowed me to carry dozens of Grateful Dead, Wilco and Phish shows — with room for plenty more — anywhere I went. And it is not an exaggeration to say that the iPhone is at least partially responsible for me finding the amazing group of friends I have here in Pittsburgh — not to mention having the still not-quite-fully-realized potential for changing how I do my job.

I don’t need Apple devices to do these things these days. I have two Android devices that I use and I like. ┬áBut Apple still does it better, and it won’t be long until I’m able to happily — and finally — get an iPhone 4.

It wouldn’t quite be accurate to say this is all the responsibility of one man. But on the other hand, I don’t think it’s hard to say that Steve Jobs changed the world — and changed how I live in it.


A weekend, in bad haiku:

Blogfest was awesome

sheet, it’s almost full

Hot. Open that door.

Empty the freezer

Before they head to Boston

Hey! Take home some steaks!

Mags go up in flames

Beer guys could write, turned out

Cornhole dulls the pain.

Vid shoot with the Sorgs

Rachel looked kind of nervous

See? That wasn’t bad…

Look — Pens on TV!

Holy crap, they scored again?

Calling Lord Stanley…

Need to post something

Cheap literary device?

Right — I have no shame.


An indication that last night’s Blogfest 13 was a good one: If you go back through the timeline, you won’t see a whole lot of Twitter activity from those in attendance. Maybe we were all having too much fun?

Thanks for a great night, y’all. See you again soon.

pretty damn close.

Another reason I’m not too upset to miss the Wilco show in Cleveland tonight? I have an excellent substitute: Blogfest 13.

Bloggers, podcasters and other media types — new, old and both, in some cases — will start showing up at Finnegan’s Wake on General Robinson Street around 5:30, and drinking, eating and conversing will ensue. If you’re one of the types mentioned above, you should definitely attend, because the night is a hoot.

We might be able to convince Cindy to make more tin foil animals, even if there isn’t cake this time.

See y’all there.

8. birthdays, beer, blogging.

A quick post, in part to make sure I maintain my NaBloPoMo compliance. And because I haven’t done a bullet post in a while.

  • I’m happy that I went to Blogfest 12 last night — had a great time finally getting a chance to talk with some people I pretty much knew only professionally and meeting some of the other folks whose faces I recognized from Podcamp or from Twitter. It’s a little odd — I’m still a bit intimidated, because my technical knowledge of this stuff is close to nonexistent compared with most of the others who attended. That’s an interesting contrast to my office, where I’m one of a few who knows the most. But last night, it wasn’t a big deal … and I know I’ll be more comfortable the next time.blogfest12.jpg
  • I found one moment last night to be especially gratifying, although I clutched a little and wasn’t able to give credit where it was due. While we were waiting for the server who had been assigned to our group to show up with some aluminum foil so we could take home pieces of the wonderful cake Cindy brought along, the conversation turned to the post-a-day thing we’re all trying out/suffering through. Several people turned to me and said the thought occurred to them after reading about it here. I was thrilled and terrified at the same time, and I blanked when I tried to remember where I first heard about NaBloPoMo. On the way home, though, I remembered the source: a tweet from Rachel in late October. She deserves to share in whatever credit and/or blame there is to go around.
  • We got to Columbus this afternoon, stopped at The Andersons to buy beer (Spoon — grabbed a bottle of the Sierra Harvest … looking forward to cracking it open this week) and warm socks. Next was Giant Eagle — yes, they’re here too — for the stuff The Wife needed for her contributions. And then we were going to stop briefly at Fred and Ethel’s for a drink before heading to my folks’ house to cook, but it occurred to us that F&E hadn’t yet picked up the growlers for tomorrow, so Fred and I headed to Barley’s in the Arena District to take care of that “problem.” We each had a pint of their excellent imperial stout while we contemplated our decision, but a taste of an apparently new imperial pilsner made the decision for us — three growlers, one Scottish, one porter and that pils. Tomorrow will be a good day.
  • I know my friends in Pittsburgh might argue this point, but we tailgate better than you. Besides the growlers and the other beer we have in the garage fridge — Left Hand’s porter, Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout and a winter ale from Columbus Brewing Co. — there is the food. We’re arriving at 9 a.m. for a 3:30 game, so this is a two-meal party. Breakfast will be homemade maple sausage, courtesy of Fred. The main course is a bacon/ham/clam chowder made by The Wife from a recipe of Sister of Uncle Crappy. Dessert? Bourbon pecan pie, made with Maker’s Mark. I hope I just got Cindy’s attention.
  • It also occurs to me that some of my Pittsburgh friends might be wondering what Uncle Crappy thinks about Sunday’s game. There are some things I’m kicking around, and by tomorrow I may even be ready to talk a little smack — but that can wait until tomorrow.
  • A quick NaBloPoMo note. You may have noticed that the numbers accompanying my posts aren’t matching up with the numbers on your calendar. That’s OK. There have been a couple of auxiliary posts, one of which — I think 5 (a) — serves as the post for whatever day it showed up. I’ll work up another extra in the next day or two to get the numbers caught up.

7. festive.

Later today, I get to celebrate the second of two birthdays in a row.

I already told you about the surprise birthday that The Wife sprung on me Wednesday night. The second is the third birthday of Pittsburgh Bloggers, the site founded by Woy, Cindy Closkey and others as a way of tracking the blogging activity going on here in Pittsburgh. I think they’d both tell you they continue to be a little surprised by the level of participation — 600-some blogs were registered as of August, and more continue to show up.

I’m not expecting that all 600 bloggers will show up at tonight’s Blogfest 12, which starts at 5:30 at Finnegan’s Wake on General Robinson Street on the North Shore. But I do expect to see a few people I’ve gotten to know a little bit since Podcamp in August, and a few more whose faces, names or Twitter handles will be familiar.

And I hope no one is really expecting me to show up in a thong and pasties. I mean, Father Spoon can do what he wants, but I’m probably going to be the oldest person there — I have to maintain at least a semblance of respectability.