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This page was updated: September 23, 2020

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January 2019

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy New Year!


Wow! I got behind on writing, thinking I had January posted already. Crud.

Moving right along.

I have been inspired a lot from an Amiga forum over on Facebook. So the A1200 is now RAM maxxed, and I have finally pulled out the CDTV.

Despite inspiration, time is still snug. The CDTV is sitting where the R50p goes. I am looking at a solution that will allow the KB, mouse, and 3 drives to be setup as well. What I really need to do is completely pull out the C128D and rearrange it to get the drive cable to reach and hopefully open up the space for easier overall access to the peripherals and computer ports. A bigger project than it sounds.


Now I'm seeing the piles that are in the way.

I had a photodigitizing project sitting in a box by the PET 4032. This led to at least one slideshow on YouTube. There was a series of slides I digitized that told the story of Mr. X (from The Mystery of Mr. X a Super 8 animation I made in Jr. High). Those scans got deleted. Feeling discouraged, I moved onto another project, leaving the box there to "get back to later." I have a suitcase full of redline Hot Wheels I was eBaying laying on top. The X41 wound up being stowed there to charge. The backup- DVDs- project kinda filled in the space between the A21p and the box of pictures.

That mountain of crap needs a new home, and unfortunately, it has been so long the abandoned homes of all this stuff have long since became occupied by other stuff or simply removed from existence because of things like moving other things (like furniture) around. Crap.

More as the story developes.


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February 2019

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Another Amiga 1000 boot sequence video!

March 2019

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Let's start with some Amiga 1000 fun! The MegaBench Disk was made to get everything possible or at least a ton of libs and other dependencies in SYS: Enjoy!


So... crazy stuff. Like getting a Zosi wireless security camera system up and running. That's the easy part. Plug it in and all the cams auto connect and go live. More challenging and certainly more time consuming: Getting the cameras mounted. The hardest part: Getting flashplayer to work on that messed up XP installation on Lucutus. :/

I found an older player and installed it and the NVR's builtin software serves up a web page so I can view all 8 wireless cams at once. Meanwhile on the other screen I have Video View 4 running the USB cam, the analog cam and the two wireless IP cams. All at once! Pretty nice.

The cams work on just about any browser with Adobe Flashplayer. So I have them on my remote computer (deBarry) as well as the Windows 2000 workstation (Dampier). Pretty sure I will not be able to do anything on the Amiga. I can see one of the IP cams on Voyager, but that's it.

Stand Still.

That's where I'm at, a stand still. I have the CDTV occupying the R50p's space, the 9100 in the R50's space and the C128D still basically disassembled. I am however, going through a box that was on the floor in front of the 1200 AG. This stand still is one of confusion, and lack of focus. I think it might be just major indecision coming from the constant "on" you experience with having kids that lead you to buy surveillance cameras and alarms.

It is really hard to make some decisions. It would seem that all my decision making beans are used up by more important decisions. Perhaps I should make a spreadsheet of location ideas and other possible "deciding factors" and slowly, over a period of weeks, do the pros and cons of each, letting logic dictate the final out-come.


I have some systems I'd like to liquidate via eBay. The advantage in doing so would be possibly getting back an original investment. It gets a system that is just sitting into the hands of a user who might get things going with it again. It would also allow me to get parts I need, but am reluctant to purchase.

On the other hand, I could just donate the items. They might get into the right hands. It is iffy, but it is a fast way to dispose of a thing I do not want. I really don't want to send the systems off to getting recycled since that would be the end of the machine.


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April 2019

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Ok, more A1000 boot fun! This is simply the system booting to it's harddrive:


Remembering When.

I was sitting here at the keys this morning at Bruneau Dunes, remembering updating my AC. The parks in Idaho used to have functional WiFi. I finished up my article, opened Firefox, logged into Angelfire and updated the article. Thinking back on it, I might have been on the 770z, running UAE with AIAB, so the browser would have been IBrowse. Those were the days!

Strider was the out and about computer. It had two large capacity batteries, so when we went camping without hookup, there was plenty of power for several days of early morning writing. And it was on an Amiga!

One utility the UAE world needs is a little ditty that would display a laptop's battery on the Amiga screen. Since full screen is the way to go in UAE, it would be nice to have that information available.

Since I have refired the fuel that gets the 1200 running regularly, and more often, I have been working on the images on the dot org NC site. I have managed to revise a few. I do need to get in and re-code some pages, since the frames are hard coded for dimensions, some of the pictures look distorted. :/


I went to the Boise Roadster Show this year. This time, Victoria came along again, along with Anastasia and Xaby. It was a blast and Xaby (an 11 year old aspy) loved it as well. Real life Hot Wheels!

I, of course, forgot I was going to flash everything to avoid grain. Maybe next year I'll remember.

I use GIMP as my darkroom on the X41t. I love it. I have customized many things in it. But I really miss the way some things are done in ImageFX. I have ImageFX 3.3 on the 700z, perhaps I can try that. Worth a shot.

The Amiga has the speed and the RAM to handle the huge pictures, but the software insists on using chip RAM rather than fast RAM. Chip maxxes out at 2megs and the system uses lots of it from the git-go. That leaves most of the 196megs of fast RAM wide open. I'll have to see if I can force the use of virtual RAM. I kinda think I can. The RAMdrive is in fast RAM; if I force the use of virtual mem, I should be able to get the pictures to load.

I can pull the WiFi nic and put in the 16gig card to move pictures over. The 16gig card is partitioned into 4 4gig partitions. I can only access the first one. However, it'll work for this experiment. I need to find out more about getting access to all four partitions. That would be great.

I have my next few weekends planned.


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May 2019

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Let's do at least one more system boot. This time it's booting the CDTV with the CDPD:


Music Port.

Long ago I longed to get access to the SID chip via a real keyboard. We're talking a musical keyboard here. I have hundreds of hours of music I have written and performed using various keyboards and other equipment. I have a Colortone Keyboard that does access the SID but it is a very specialized and limited device.

Enter Euphony.

Euphony was discovered in a typewriter written ad in the back of one of the many commodore related publications I subscribed to in the 1980s. A midi based system that boasted seemingly too good to be true qualities and abilities.

I asked my folks about what they thought. In the end we sent off for the Euphony Player. It was everything thing the ad said it was. It was astounding!

They had a system that I didn't get allowing you to enter your music to be played on your external keyboard. (What I got played music via midi as well as SID at the same time, while showing the notes in real time.) My plan was to program my drums for the commodore to play for me while I played the other instruments, since drums were the weakest part of my music.

That was a plan that over time faded as a pipe dream.

I had seen some nice keyboards with full size keys from Sequential, Music Port and one other that is alluding me at present. They either plugged into the joystick port (like the Colortone) or the user port. I wonder if I could use the Colortone software with the ones that plug into the joystick port. Hmm.

Anyway, as time would have it, I have been looking for those missed opportunities, a nice C64 music keyboard being one of them. It's a bit of a challenge since I'm apparently not the only person looking for one. However, I did manage to procure one. A Music Port. It appears to be in overall good condition. These three keyboards must be made by the same manufacturer as they all look the same. They have a round white thing in the top of the keyboard, that the seller refereed to as a missing button.

The button looks to be just a plastic plug for something that never got implemented in the design and they didn't want to have a whole on the unit. That is my hypothesis at present. I could be dead wrong there. I have nothing to test the keyboard with since the software is not on the iNet (as far as I have searched), and I have yet to find it for sale anywhere.

When we lived in Crosthwaite Manor, now known as the Amber House, I knew where every piece of hardware, every piece of software and every cable was. With the exception of two things -- the Plasma Screen Toshiba and the IBM Portable. I now know the location of those two items, but little else. More to the point, I do not know what has happened to my commodore music software. Yea, that's a big OMG.

So I have yet another new quest before me.


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June 2019

Last year's photographic adventure:

There is a huge adventure in photography before the above, however I haven't even started going through the pictures. :/

Meantime, here is the photographic adventure before that:

Just a side posting.



Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


I am awaiting the arrival of spring (I'm writing this in March). There are lots of extra things to deal with. The garden being the biggest. We did go camping a couple of days ago. It was nice, but still a bit cold.

We got a pleasant surprise while at Bruneau Dunes. The observatory opened that day for the few people who just happened to be there for what they called the soft opening. Official is next week.

A bit of writing has ensued and seems to be continuing at home! Kinda nice.

Noesis Creation.

Noesis Creation has been an amazing thing for me. When it all started, the C64 had retired from production and the company CBM had closed it's doors. At least the CBM facilities I knew about. Ensuring the commodore 64 a space in obscurity. However, scour the iNet or browse eBay and you will find things like WiFi NICs for the c64, JiffyDOS for the plus/4 and many other amazing things. There are hobbyists making Amiga PC boards. What once was leaving or fading, never left and is as bright as ever.

It does seem as if this is the place for fading tech. The Amazon Kindle Fire does not get along in the modern world when it comes to iNet browsing. Apple does not support the iPod Touch 4. The Razr phone from Motorola is just a curio. These things were all State- of- the- Art at one time, and not that long ago. In human- memory- time that is. In the tech world they are all ancient and simplistic.

We were taught by marketing that you have to have the latest and the greatest. I resisted this. Apple lived and breathed it. I dug in -- and got buried.

It would seem that as time marches on, our tech slips into obsoleteness faster and faster. But does it have to?

I see flat screens all the time being used on C64s and Amiga 500s. I really wanted to move to that camp. I saw so many there. Now, in the past few weeks I see more and more people from that camp, looking for a composite monitor. There is talk of how it's just not the same. There are devices to insert scan lines to make an LCD look more like a CRT, but they fall short. It would seem commodore engineers made the equipment fit the existing technology so well, replacing those screens is not really an option.

Interesting turn of events.


The 2019 Boise Roadster Show

a film by

Brian Crosthwaite

Back in March, Twinnies and I took Xaby to see his very first Boise Roadster Show (it was also Anastasia's first).

I made the mistake of using auto mode with no flash. So the ISO got thrown up to the max and all the pictures came out grainy. I was planning to use the flash and do manual mode, or at least flash mode with auto. But as it was, I was tired and didn't really think things through when I was there :/

So I started with a Nikon 3400 DSLR using a DX 18-55mm lens. I used Gwenview and GIMP to bump-up lighting, crop, etc.

Then I updated my IBM X41 Tablet ThinkPad Linux box to Kubuntu 18 and everything slowed way down, plus I lost some applications. I got on the MacBook with Kubuntu 16 and found Openshot -- it was the older version -- yay! However, it was older than the one I'm used to. So back to the IBM.

On the IBM I opened up KSysGuard and found the CPU- hog- system- drain; Baloo File Indexing! Just like back on Kubuntu 14! So, using KSysGuard from sudo, I killed it, but have left it installed. Wow! My computer is mega fast!

Openshot is slow and the ability to load picture sequences appears to no longer function. I never got it working. Kdenlive has extremely limited transitions for slides. Thus, I installed Imagination and off I went!

Imagination has all the really great transitions I'm used to and all I have to do is select all and hit random for the transaction and it's done! Now, 110 pictures in the slide show takes close to 8 minutes to load, maybe more. Also, I unchecked resize to fit format. It would overshoot the boarder in the resize mode, thus cropping many of the pictures -- not good.

Openshot, is more stable, but does not work well now. Please give me the random crash with functionality, if that is my only choice. Instead I mixed everything with Kdenlive. Works well.

The CDTV has video running directly to the IBM A21p ThinkPad as well as the audio running to the mixer that runs to the same ThinkPad. I simply grabbed a waycool MOD from the CDPD public domain software for the CDTV and recorded it in DAK's Wave/MP3 Editor. I like this software because it uses little resources and gets awesome results. This was the quickest, easiest part of the whole process.

I added titles to the mixed (created and edited in Kdenlive) and rendered a .vob file and all was well. Until viewing. The images were scrunched up; the cars were all taller and thinner. Crap.

Ok, you knew it was coming. Avidemux (2.6qt) to the rescue! I did an auto to DVD with a start ratio of 1:1 converted to 4:3 and now it looks fab!





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July 2019

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Happy Independence Day!

Dilemma vs Procrastination. The dilemma is what to do about the CDTV and the R50p. OK, there is another dilemma, and that is what to do about the 9100 and the R50. Perhaps I am procrastinating here. But I really don't seem to be getting any solutions. I haven't torn down the C128D and reassembled it. So there really is a strong procrastination going on here.

I had a great bike ride yesterday (I'm typing this in March). So maybe a few more of those will shake off the winter blues and reboot the brain. Doing the self care thing takes some planning and effort. It is so easy to just sit when the RAD/FAS kids are gone and stare at the wall. But that only helps at first. You really have to make a plan.

This week's plan was:

JAVA II  !!!    -- OK, this was actually a home made coffee milkshake yesterday and today!  (Check!)
*UAE on 770z and or X41t  -- (Check!)
ImageFX Nikon big ass pix
In box  -- (Check!)
"~really" list
cdtv: drives and R50p
*9100 n R50
drone outside
port placement
setup  slides canner
Didn't get to the CDTV (once again), nor the 9100 and R50 -- no drone, no Port and no scanner. But! I did have an extra long bike ride that was not planned. It was fun, so it counts!

Worked in AIAB on the 770z. Personal Paint and ImageFX both recognized the Nikon's newer jpeg type, but not enough memory. I found a really slick install of the WinUAE as AIAB10.2, and I was able to configure the system with lots of available RAM, however none of the software I needed to test was installed. :/

It was a walk down memory lane. Kinda ironic since it was an emulator I was reminiscing about and not the actual Amiga -- I use the Amiga fairly regularly. ;)

The True Test.

I FTPed one of those enormous pictures from the Nikon onto the Escom Amiga 1200 AG. I opened it in ImageFX and was able to process it! Holy cow did it take a long time! I kept coming back during the processing (a watercolor filter) expecting to see the desktop or an error message after a crash. But it never happened. It probably took five minutes to process -- but it did it!

Still before me is the CDTV. I don't really want to tear it down, but I need to get the R50p back up and running as well as the R50. Crud. Perhaps I'll put figuring it out off for at least an other day...


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August 2019

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Crazy CDTV A21p Stuff.

I recently opened a cam capture software on the A21p. One of the devices said PhilipsPhilVid or some such thing. I thought, "hmm, I wonder if that is the built in s-video. Well, I Googled it. and yes it is. I got a couple of s-video cables, a 4 pin to composite and a 7 pin to component.

The port is apparently non-standard. Cables plug in but don't necessarily pin out the same. The component cable's blue line goes to the line that IBM chose for composite. I got it plugged in and volla! CDTV displayed on the A21p! How cool is that!? Plus I still have the flat screen monitor goin' on so I have two displays. And the flat screen wins on quality. You have to admit, it's just too cool!

With the added bonus that the Studio's Audio IN goes straight to this computer, the CDTV's stereo audio can be easily directed to the same capture software, giving total AV to the ThinkPad by simply plugging it in -- no adapters or external digitizers. 2cool.


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September 2019

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


My temp solution on the R50 was to place it on top of the 9100. But this is old news since I am typing this in April for the September posting.

We are camping at Three Island State Park. Home of the famous Three Island Crossing. I hope to get a lot of reading in. I'm reading The Symphony for the City of the Dead. It is the highly detailed history leading up to Shostakovitch writing his 7th Symphony during the siege of Leningrad by the Germans during WWII. It was the longest siege in history -- 900 days.

A fascinating highly detailed account of events of the time. A five star book in my humble opinion. Recommended.


When I first started The Archaic Archives in 1998, I just called the first one aa1.html. Simple enough. The next year, aa2.html came along, etc. Well, yes. That was a rather stupid idea. So a month or so ago, I started copying the pages and renaming them to a better format: aa1997.html, aa1998.html, etc.

It was a slow process; I was in no hurry. But it wasn't very clear in my mind how things were going. I was adding pages to the Angelfire directory and I'd have to search to where I left off. I abandoned this approach. I went to the Amiga and FTPed all the files I had made, plus all the archives I hadn't copied over.

From the Amiga I as able to quickly get all the files setup with new names. I used IBrowse to display and edit the files. I re-wrote the header and footer links, prettying them up along the way. I also went through and re-formatted the pre-formatted text to display properly. I don't know how or why it was the way it was, I suppose I was making it work on all browsers, so now it might look funky or messed up on some browsers. I checked it on an old version of Firefox, IBrowse, and the iPad's Safari. Finally, I updated the news and index pages to reflect the new links.

I think overall, that it went well. It went much faster to edit on the Amiga. I simply FTPed everything back onto the site and all seems well.

Time Keeps on Slippin', Slippin', Slippin' Into the Future...*

So the plan is to make my way (somehow) into the barn to pull out systems and sort out what is there. There are lots of other things I put there for safe keeping, and because of a general lack- of- a- place- to- put- it- kind of a thing.

Let's look at this critically. What is the number one procrastinator for me? Motivation. The part where I jump in with a plan and make it happen. So why not? What is really stopping me? Why am I not motivated? It would seem when I'm not in the situation I can look at it and go, "ok, here's the plan," and at the same time really feel like I'm gonna jump in there and do it. But those times are usually 20 minutes before I go to bed or when I am in a place that I can't get there from, like here. In the trailer, 2 hours away from home.

It looks like depression to me. If not clinical, then situational. There is this oppressive, out of my control aspect of being right there. I think it is a stress level that is too hard to deal with, so I put it off. I'll think about it later. The problem is later turns into years. It really just slips by. And it is an unconscious thing.

What I need is to not have those extra projects (the things that build up that need to be done, but get all pushed in one clump of time because our normal schedule is absolutely full) that hit all at once. When I get time to myself, I am usually tired and in real need of fun (you know, that self-care stuff you do when living with R.A.D.), and going out into a big room full of 3 inches of dust just doesn't qualify as respite.

This has become the incessant ramblings of a programmer gone apathetic! AAAAaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

Perhaps, the plan is to make it my plan. (What plan?) Ok, so every week, when boys are off having their game day (24 hour period when the two youngest go with their big brother) I have to make a plan (well, ok, before that day) to do something I really enjoy. Like biking, video making, flying the drone, etc. Oooooo! Just a thought! I can run recon in the barn using the Sky Viper Scout! I took some pictures with the iPad the other day, but it's hard to get the right angle.... Any who, I make a plan for what I want to do to come back to life. RAD removes joy. RAD is like having dementors in your house. And life is not fun with it. So, the plan to the rescue!

Ok, let's see. I think mapping the project area is a good idea. I have some photos on the iPad, so I'll shoot video on the first half in the afternoon via the drone, and get everything on the iPad in once place for easy access.

That's a good start. I also have lots of windows we saved for a green house that I don't think I will ever build. It was for the fodder. Perhaps, I shouldn't chuck the glass (it would go to the Re-Store) I could make the green house, mostly to spite the chickens who raid the current greenhouse. Evil laughter here.

*Steve Miller, Fly Like and Eagle


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October 2019

The Haunting Place.


Brian Crosthwaite

I opened the gate slowly. It creaked on it's hinges, sending a shutter down my spine. I couldn't believe I was actually doing it. I mean, I've never been much for adventure, and yet, there I was, about to step through that gate, only moments before midnight.

It was the fall semester at Cantell College. I was a freshman working toward getting the basic, mostly boring classes that freshmen are required to take, out of the way. You know, the pre-requisites and the survey classes. I did have a class I really liked though.

Well, ok, I liked lots of classes, but I was particularly interested in this one -- History 101. Yes, it's really a large political overview of wars, mostly of the western world and definitely a class that falls into the boring category.

However, Professor Anahala, was particularly fond of Barrsville. Barrsville, is a small town in the middle of nothing, no where, no how. Just as plan as one could imagine. Except it's not. It has a robust history, and Prof. Anahala so easily slid into an energized, informative instructor upon the very mention of our sleepy town's name.

Barrsville's history is like many other towns of it's age. A place where two roads met near a river and the railroad. Oh, and eventually a freeway. Barrsville grew up a small farming community and slowly grew to a shipping hub for UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL, you name it -- we ship via it.

There are still farms, but the old town had little else. I guess that's not quite true. But it was always kinda po-dunk to me. I grew up watching TV as many my age have. Sentiments ran from somewhere in between, "TV is bad for you," and "everyone has at least one TV." Barrsville, was not like places I wanted to live in, not like LA or New York or other places depicted as exciting in the mind of an 18 year old.

I still had those dreams of moving on and away from "Boresville." But graduation was the goal, and so I was still there.

"Oh, the Poursmouth Foundry?" I hadn't notice anyone talking to her, we had all just settled into the quiet, after shuffling in to the room and taking seats, chatting to neighbors and the like. The class had the habit of becoming quiet, usually waiting for Professor Anahala to look up from her desk where she would be finalizing last minute changes to the day's lecture.

"The Poursmouth Foundry was a strange place. It was said to be haunted by several people who had died there in horrific accidents.

"The truth is, no one ever had an accident there as it never opened. Every kid who ever saw the place, claimed it was haunted. All hear-say of course.

"The place is huge. It supposedly has a cauldron that can hold 2000 gallons of molten lead, or what ever they.d melt... iron maybe ...the place is ten stories high. I think they were planning to manufacture zippers." Then she added, "fasteners or something."

She had this pondering look on her face, then stated, "I've been there." She started to get up as if moving on, then settled back.

"I was just a girl then, about 14. My friend Sara and I were walking home from seeing The Creature Walks Among Us. The construction site of the new foundry was dead center of a shortcut we had always taken to school." She added, "It was an empty field before."

She stood up as she spoke, I don't really remember seeing her cross the room, but she was at the window talking, looking out across the campus, I suppose, as she unfolded the story. "Back then construction sites weren't necessarily fenced in, and we had been walking through the place since they started digging.

"We walked through enough times we actually made a path that you could see." Then almost as an aside,"we walked through in the morning on the way to school, and on weekends and such -- when the place was empty of construction workers.

"That night as we passed between the two main buildings, I saw a light. I grabbed Sara's arm, 'someone's here!' She laughed and said, 'what's the worst they could do, kick us off the property?' I remember both of us laughing, and I think Sara must have seen it too, but right in the middle of this merriment, the light seemed to step out of a darkened doorway, it was a greenish glow, the shape of a human, or something that walked upright. We had the Creature on our minds, I suppose.

"We really didn't stay to find out. We both ran out of there and were halfway down Fillmore Street before we stopped out of breath, laughing."

The class laughed, but there was a kind of uneasiness to it; I think we were being sympathetic, but I wasn't quite sure of the overall emotions of the class, nor of Prof. Anahala's state of mind.

"We didn't straight out tell anyone, but we asked if anyone had seen anything there at night. I recall finding out that a friend's dad worked on the buildings there as a carpenter. I was at Shela's house for dinner, and I asked him about it, sort of indirectly. I wasn't quite sure it was OK for us to walk through there.

"He looked quite surprised at my inquiry, 'As a matter of fact, I have seen some....' his words just kinda hung there, but he told me of seeing something late at night, when he had returned to get some papers he had left in one of the buildings. He thought it must have been nothing, since it was there only a moment, then gone. "'Imagination,' is what he said, sort of half smiling.

"But, a couple of days later, he had returned to get his lunch pale. He had been out with friends, and had decided to pick it up on his way home. He saw something emerge from the building right in front of him! He said, 'I wouldn't exactly call it human.'"

She paused, "Those were his exact words." She turned from the window and returned to sit on the front of her desk. "Sara and I went back. We figured -- strength in numbers. It was late enough to be dark. I couldn't tell you what time it was. But it was dark." She really emphasized the word dark.

"We had no plan other than to look around. No flashlight, no holy water," there were chuckles here and there, "we just went." She leaned forward on her desk, "As we approached from the west, a green, glowing shape stood in an upper doorway or window or something. It must have been looking out. Now that I think of it, I wonder if it was looking at us. Or worse, look for us!

"It stepped back into the shadows and was gone. We walked closer and it was so quiet. So very quiet. It's always quiet at night, but I remember thinking, 'it's so quiet.' And it was a rather dark night. It was really hard to see. I could barely see the outline of the structures against the sky.

"We were still standing out in the street, when we saw it go from that building to the next. It looked like some sort of bogg creature straight out of Scooby Do." More laughter.

"Sara grabbed my hand and pulled me across the street and we hid in some bushes. We stood there for probably a half an hour, waiting. We didn't see anything more. We really didn't know what to do, so we went home.

She was sitting on her desk as if in deep reflection. She sighed, stood up, "and for whatever reason, they never finished the work of building the foundry." Then she began her lecture, although I couldn't tell you what the content was; I had already gotten my lesson for the day.

I was intrigued by that story, with Halloween only days away, it stuck in my mind. It was a beautiful autumn, warm weather, colorful leaves.

I loved to go to the parkway in the center of the campus to study. The sun was warm and I had a nice place that no one ever seemed to occupy, so I could count on my spot to work through my pile of homework.

But I found myself distracted. It was that story Prof. Anahala had told us. Surely, it was just a story, right? It was October, everyone had accepted it as a story, Prof. Anahala had never told us a ghost story before; all her stories were about growing up here, about the history of Barrsville or Cantell College.

No, this was different. Was it because it was just a story she made up for Halloween? No, she seemed like she was recalling something she hadn't thought of for years. I was too shy to press her on it and decided to simply let it go. There was no possibility of learning more. I had guessed, there really wasn't more to learn, since she probably would have told it to the class.

Was it just a story?

I spent my time eating, studying, going to class. Any time I had free, I spent going back over my homework. There were a couple of people who invited me into their circle, but I rarely saw them as our schedules were quite different. So my time was really my own. I recall my mind wondering back to the images that Prof. Anahala had planted in my mind. It really did seem like an episode of Scooby Doo.

"No flashlight, no holy water. No flashlight, no holy water. No flashlight, no holy water." Well, a flashlight certainly. A camera! That's what she needed! With a flash, or a tripod, or both! I was floored. These thoughts came to me and it seemed too obvious. Of course, she hadn't brought those things, it was an impromptu check- it- out kinda thing. Not even really a quest. A proper quest.... Oh, wow. I had these thoughts of 'If I was going I'd...' and 'This is how I'd do it.'

I was going to do it.

I had earned the title, "No Adventure" in high school, for reasons I won't disclose here. Suffice it to say, I'm a bit of a Hobbit when it comes to setting out or stepping out a door. But then, both Bilbo and Frodo did indeed step out into the wide world. It was decided. I was feeling a bit like Bilbo the moment I had decided.

I had a Hanimex Practika Super TL, the name sounds a bit gaudy, but it was a lightweight, albeit large Single Lens Reflex camera sporting a Tamron 24mm wide-angle lens. In my camera bag I carried two rolls of film, all Ektachrome -- one ASA 125 Color Reversal Film and one ASA 125 Infrared Reversal Film, and an external self-timer. The camera was brand new that year, as was the Vivitar flash mounted on top it.

I also brought a flashlight, a freebe from Radio Shack. In my camera bag next to the film were 4 D batteries and a still in the package replacement bulb for the flashlight -- just in case. I was set. I was going to get a picture and not going to be left in the dark.

I hadn't really put it together that, the foundry might not still be a deserted work site. I hadn't thought, what if it was torn down, or even replaced by a parking lot or some other building. These thoughts were not present.

On the 30th, it was a Tuesday, I asked Prof. Anahala after class where the site of the foundry was.

"Poursmouth Road, can't miss it, still a bunch of weed patches the whole block. At least last I saw." Another student gotten her attention. I had my information and was off.

I had all my "equipment," waiting on my dorm-room bed in the ready. I'd go on a recon mission to make a plan during the day, then come back at night. When the specter would appear.

I grabbed a note pad and pencil and headed to find Poursmouth Road.

First stop, dorm suite phone nook. I opened the phone book, and at first I looked for the Poursmouth Foundry. There wasn't one, of course, it had never be built, or at least not finished. Next the map. Poursmouth Rd. was a long road leading to the outskirts of town. Out in that direction, there was an elementary school, a nautatorium, a museum and a few other things out that direction, albeit not on the same road. It was an easy walk from where I was.

It was a 45 minute walk to find Poursmouth. I proceeded, going east, since the elementary school on Maywrod Dr. might have been the school my Prof. was walking to and from -- short-cutting through the field. The houses got few and far apart as I walked. Soon there were a couple of warehouse-like buildings, surrounded mostly by fields of weeds and the occasional small, odd building. Could one of these warehouses be the old foundry?

I hoped not, since they had no windows and would be locked and possibly have guards or dogs awaiting my night-time visit. I walked on, in the hope that it was yet a head of me. There were several open areas, full of tall weeds. Then I came to a place where there was a path leading out of the weeds. A shortcut!

A shortcut from a school that lay to the north? In the midst of the weeds were three very tall buildings. The center building was really tall. This was it!

I could feel it. I followed the path, it was well worn. I was not planning on passing anyone on the path since school would have let out an hour and half ago.

As visions of my own after school, extra curricular activities came to mind, it occurred to me that someone might come along at any moment. I was prepared, I'd politely say "Hi," and walk on as if I knew where I was going. I'd only leave the path if no one was present.

The weeds thinned, the path turned, opening up to clearing. This is where I found the front of the center building.

There was a rot iron fence around it now, with a heavy iron gate. My heart leaped as I saw that the gate was not locked!

I glanced around casually to make sure I was alone. There was no one present. I was alone. And yet, I had the strangest feeling. The feeling one gets in public, where people are about, the feeling of the presence of others. The feeling like someone is watching you! Like a hand on the shoulder, or some kind of heat from the self-awareness of someone, or something watching you.

I shook the feeling off and tried to open the gate and it wouldn't move. Crap! I'd climb it if I had to, I thought. But then how would I get in at night with all my stuff? I pushed it harder and it creaked on heavy hinges. Fortunately, the day has many sounds; a plane was passing over head, crows were braying, and despite it's loud shuddering as I forced the gate open, the sound was not much loader than that of the city.

I explored all three buildings. All doorways and all windows were wide open. Nothing was closed off. The foundry looked like construction was well underway -- not quite, but close to being finished. It appeared like a construction site that someone would show up to on Monday and building would continue. They had stopped work on it and put up a fence. It was simply abandoned.

After a very thorough exploration, I returned to campus and went to dinner. I ate alone, taking notes on a notepad. I mapped things out, plotted places to set up the tripod, what film to use when, how long I was going to spend in each spot. The night was well choreographed.

I looked up from my notepad and realized there was one of the cafeteria ladies standing in front of me, "I gotta lock up, hon. You know, the library is open till 9."

I was done. I was ready. All I needed now was the gumption to actually do it. I had gone in the day. That was hard enough. In fact, logically, I was convincing myself, going in the day was much riskier since there was a higher change being seen and getting caught.

Night time was so less risky. That was my logic. Seemed sound enough. Why wasn't I buying it?

I opened the gate slowly. It creaked on it's hinges as it had before, sending a shutter down my spine. The sound reached out in the night. I became really self conscience. I couldn't believe I was actually doing it. This was an adventure, and at only moments before midnight. My heart raced! When I closed the heavy rot iron gate, it's latch caught with a grabbing clunk that had a sound of finality to it. Was I ever going to leave this place again?

Such a strange thought.

I had a plan; I knew my strategy. I approached the center building, the sound of my feet in the gravel made me wince. After the brutal announcement of my arrival by the gate, my very whereabouts was being announced at every step I took. When planning the whole thing, I was only worried about being seen, not heard.

New thoughts entered my head, more terrifying than any mystery to solve -- thoughts of a living person hearing me sneaking around a place I probably didn't belong, and telling me to leave. Or worse, calling the police!

Now, my heart was pounding, the tripod bumped a metal box, I heard a dog bark in the quiet distance. It was one of those sounds that tells you, you really are alone, while the world sleeps. My walking sounds were not as load as they had seemed, of so I hoped.

When I made it inside, my feet continued to betray me. They made a kind of sandy scrape in an echoy- concrete- room sort of sound, because that is precisely what it was.

I positioned myself in a sort of protected area, there was a metal staircase and a fencing that made a great vantage point. I remember thinking after getting the camera situated and I was waiting, that I wish I had brought a tape recorder.

I wondered what time it was that Prof. Anahala had seen the phenomena in question. My watch still had a bit of a glow to it. I could hear a clock tolling somewhere. Was it the campus clock perhaps? It counted out 12. Midnight!

I recall sitting there, thinking, 'It's October 31! I am investigating a ghost on Halloween!' The idea excited me, but at the same time, it seemed strange. There didn't seem to be any glowing figure there. Was it a prank someone played on Prof. Anahala?

No, it wasn't, her friend's father saw it twice! I took a picture. She and her friend.... Oh. It struck me -- the only person I heard tell the story was Prof. Anahala. She might have just made it up for Halloween. Did everyone in the class know this but me? Was I being a sap, thinking I was going to solving some great mystery when all along everyone knew it was not real?

I let the extension cable go, the shutter closed as the cable wiggled there on the camera. I was stunned. I didn't know what to do. I felt like such a fool. I wanted to vanish into some corner and hide, denying I was ever there.

I advanced the film. I decided it was Halloween, I was in a spooky place that someone had told a spooky story about, I'd get some cool pictures of doorways and such. It would be cool. I would do some cool work in the darkroom and this would be my Halloween treat to myself.

I carried out my plan. Time exposures, IR film, there were creepy looking iron chambers and such. I got some great shots setup with the flash.

I was almost done. I shot most all my film, I had half of a roll of infrared left. The moon wasn't all the way full, but it did play into some great shots, coming in through open windows and doorways. I was about to take the flash off and put my camera in the bag, when I heard the sounds of sand on shoes, filling the room, very much like the sounds I first heard from my own feet.

I turned toward a darkened corridor. The sound was approaching! Coming closer. Was I about to get caught? Was the story true? I just started taking pictures, the flash going off, illuminating the empty space. I saw nothing. It was coming closer. I could hear someone or something was there. I could hear it breathing, but I saw nothing! I stepped back, tripping on my camera bag. I could hear the tripod fall over. The foot steps stopped. I sat there waiting for what, I don't know. Whomever was there was still standing. I could hear something in the dead silence.

It was so quiet. The night was so still, and yet I could hear something there, in the darkness before me. I held the camera out in front of me, half to take another picture and half to illuminate the scene, I pressed the shutter button. The shutter went off and the flash fired.

Before me was a glowing green thing! It was in the shape of a human, I think. It's face was contorted. It was covered, no made out of, what looked like globs of clay or mud! As the light from the flash faded I could still see it. It glowed longer than the surrounding area. I took more pictures and each time the thing writhed and twisted before me. Every other picture the flash would go off again, having charged and the glow would once again intensify.

I advanced the film partway and it stopped. I had shot my last shot. The thing held the light from the last flash, and it's glow slowly faded, then vanished. It was gone. I could tell somehow. I guess I couldn't hear it breathing. It was no longer there.

Did I get a picture?

I stood up. Kind of in a daze and shaking like a leaf, I put all my stuff away. The thing, whatever it was, had given me what I wanted.

As I walked home in the night, my mind was blank. I was still in that moment after seeing the thing. Wondering if I had dreamed it all. I had already planned out getting the film processed at the camera shop over by the campus.

The Next Day.

Early morning classes are not a great idea, as I'd found out that semester, but that morning after my Adventure, I was awake early, caffeinated and ready well before I needed to be. What I was really excited about was my class ending and getting over to the camera shop when they opened.

When at last, the class had ended, I wasted no time in getting out the door and to the shop. I asked how soon I could get them back, and the guy said by noon!

It was hard waiting till noon, but some how I managed it. I don't really recall much else about the rest of that morning.

I got the photos and ran out the door, at least, thinking back on it, I must have run, for I was at the park sitting on a bench in a secluded spot in what felt like an instant.

Normally I don't get prints made from slides, but this was a special project, so I splurged, paying the extra for prints -- I did get a discount for being a student, plus not having the slides cut and mounted saved a little. I opened the color first, nothing but some nice clear shots of an empty, deserted, unfinished, old building. Sure, there were a couple of shots that didn't pan out, but even upon scrutiny, I saw nothing of the creature. The Infrared! That was the last roll I shot.

I opened the IR next, but found nothing. I could see the pictures where I shot the thing, but there was nothing there but an empty room! It was as if there had been nothing there at all. But there had been! I saw it! Why had the camera caught nothing?

The thing emitted light, at least after the flash had exposed it or recharged it.

It lit the area up around it! I was dumbfounded and utterly disappointed.

I must have sat staring at the river for a hour. I'm not sure I was processing or simply stunned. Then, I realized what I had seen must have surely been otherworldly. Some sort of preternatural thing. Yes, I was disappointed about my proof, but I had an amazing adventure. I'd have to accept it for what it was. Even though I really didn't know what it was.

I had plans to go back. At least plans to make plans. The Monday morning before Prof. Anahala's class I swung by the foundry again, disappointed that it wasn't a Scooby Doo thing, where I could have revealed who it was in the glowing suit.

I heard construction equipment off in the distance that morning as I walked. I got a jolt when I arrived at the scene of my night time visit -- they were demolishing the foundry! There was a sign with an architect's rendering of the new storage facility that was "coming soon."

At class that day, I didn't mention my adventure to Prof. Anahala, nor did I ever tell anyone after. In fact, until now I have never mentioned it to anyone.

Forty Years Later.

My parents have both passed, it has been well over ten years now. My family has long since moved into the old family house. It was just the other day, I was going trough a bunch of boxes my folks had saved that were tucked away in the corner of the attic, soon to be a family room. I came across the old shoe box I had placed my best pictures in. Ironically, it had the pictures I had taken that fate filled night still tucked away in one of the envelopes from the lab.

It was a walk down memory lane. I had completely forgotten about those photos. I was about to toss them, but decided they warranted one last look. I had stuffed all the photos and film from all the rolls into one envelope. The photos took me back to that night.

Wow! What a crazy thing that was. As I was flipping through the pictures, some of the film slipped out onto the floor. I carefully grabbed them to put them back, when something caught my eye.

I held the film up, towards the window. There appeared to be someone standing in the picture! I quickly riffled through the pictures till I found the print that matched the particular frame on the film I was looking at. The print had no one in it, and yet, there on the film itself, was a man, standing wearing what appeared to be a hard hat!

I looked through all the film and in each one I had seen him and shot a picture, he appeared! The events of that night flooded back to me. I was looking at film that was not infrared, I remember I had seen nothing when shooting that film, and yet, here on the film before me stood the figure of this man! A shutter ran down my spin as I realized he had been there in all the shots I took -- I just couldn't see him!

Upon study of the infrared the film had a strange glow around him that reminded me of the glow I saw that night is looked bumpy and molten.

There really had been some sort of a specter there, I have the pictures to prove it! The man is in focus and clear in all the shots. Why he doesn't appear on the prints is beyond me. But he stands in all the reversal film, mysteriously lost in the transition from slide film to print. I wonder, now what the day I first got the pictures back might have been like, had I simply gotten the slides developed and mounted. What would I have done next?

The End.


Operation Recon.

Maggie and I got the drone ready and went out to the barn. The drone acted pretty erratic. It had a real hard time staying in one place. It was windy, so we closed the barn door, but it made little difference. I managed to fly over two of the three areas in question.

We were in search of information, looking to see what boxes were where. 10 years ago, I had organized the barn into several sections.

One was storage, in the back. I had many large machines and systems I had cleaned up for use, but wanted to stow for later access. Either to use, and or to eBay.

Another area was setup for straight out eBaying. There was a walkway to access things (between all sections, initially). I had stuff to eBay and packing material. All well organized.

Yet another area, had things I was planning to go through, like toys and games my mom had saved. We'd keep some, donate some, and eBay others, perhaps.

The last area nearest the big door, was stuff I was going to access within the next few days or weeks. It was placed against the ABUG and TV/BUG libraries.

As time passed, I placed other things out there, like the original Amiga and commodore equipment boxes on top of the packing boxes, just to get them out of the house and garage. Some building materials were put out there in walkways.

Enter windows, rain, irrigation and a feral cat.

We had planned to build a greenhouse and saved several old windows that got put just inside of the barn's large door, blocking access to the place I was originally going to work from.

I hadn't realized that the irrigation pipe running under the barn's concrete floor, was leaking into the barn. Nor was I aware of rain and melting snow dripping in from above.

Add to this disastrous mix a feral cat named Amy Feral Yowlar (that's what I called her, her real name was Amy Ferra Fowler. She was a very bad climber and knocked just about everything she landed on over. Boxes deformed from water, covered in years of dust were mixed into an incomprehensible jumble. It was a complete and utter mess.

The drone crashed a couple of times. Most of it's fly time was spent trying to stabilize it at the same time trying not to blow so much dust and crap into the air that we couldn't breath.

I got some fair footage, not as stable as I'd home for. It was after the flight that I realized I should have turned off the auto stabilizer. (Not sure what it's called -- the drone has a second camera on it for it's own use to keep it stable. Makes for a really stable hover as well as easy flight on mostly level ground.) The surface it was trying to navigate was no where near smooth, level, or consistent.

That was early June, I think. I looked at pictures and videos and the conclusions for every plan I made all included one thing. Get that blasted pile of glass out of the way!

Ok, Now What? or Life Takes Another Turn.

Mia's internship ended in August. And our days, while still busy, changed. I am able to do the barn! I have currently removed well over half the boxes, in fact I'd say 77% maybe have been either sorted, sifted through and otherwise dealt with. There is an enormous pile of recycles, an even bigger pile of garbage and a daunting amount of items going to donation.

Many donations are clean complete systems. Lots of parts, toys, tools -- all kinds of things. I got laundry room sinks and all kinds of building materials.

(To recap: I had actually organized the barn into sections for easy access back when I first put stuff in it. I had storage of machines I wanted to keep. I had an area for stuff I was eBaying, along with an area next to it full of neatly organized packing materials. I had an area for old toys. I had an area for the TV/BUG (Treasure Valley/Boise User Group) and ABUG (Atari Boise User Group) libraries. I had an area by the front full of boxes of things I actually planned to deal with right away, such as systems I was setting up.

Now there were some serious casualties here. Because the barn, leaks like a barn. Rain has many points of entry. The floor, albeit concrete, has a long crack in it that follows the now leaking irrigation pipe and floods every two weeks on irrigation day. There is 10 years of dust out there. We had a cat who was totally climbing challenged. She would go to jump on a box and would knock it down. Unlike most cats who would give up and run off she climbed the next box, knocking that one down. Many boxed were dumped if they were not sealed.)

There were lots of really nice things I had put out there so long ago. There were dot matrix printers, that were not well covered, and are now full of leaves and dirt. Too dirty to donate, they are really full of crap. So they are going to the landfill. I hate the idea that they are garbage now. These are Star Gemini, Blue Chip -- all the really cool printers that we, as commodoreans, figured out how to interface and use. These were the sought after printers of the day. I am sorry I didn't tend to them as they deserved.

This struggle goes on. It has been a couple of weeks and I hope to get it finished in a day or so, so I can move on to other pressing and less depressing matters.



I had posted several Amiga Boot Sequence videos way back at the turn of the year. They were well received. Three of them, however, had a massive glarror (my word for glaring error). They used the same slide announcing "Voyageur Studio." However, they said "Voyage" rather than "Voyageur." Two different things. The fix?

Easy peasy. Famous last words. I had just made the jump to Kubuntu 18, and that was after some serious humin and hawin. Rekonq went bye bye, I lost PACPL (again -- this time from Konqueror, which BTW they did not remove), several apps got updated as well. Openshot has changed. (I have a text about this, god I hate rewrites! aaaaa!) It has a serious bug or two that makes it impossible to load a series of photos. Kind of a deal breaker. I'll take the version that mysteriously quit that was otherwise fully functional, over the new way of doing things that actually doesn't work. The system bogs down seriously.

In fact the whole system bogs because of Baloo File Extractor hogging system resources. I quit it out via

sudo ksysguard %U

as well as the new Wineserver that was gobbling up CPU time. The system became lighting fast! Now, I don't have to KILL tasks. It might have been after the update Baloo needed to rebuild it's database and who knows what Wineserver was doing. All seems to be well. Maybe -- it seems to be coming and going, mostly coming. :/

If you end task Wineserver, the computer hangs on reboot. I booted under advanced options, albeit the first selection, and everything worked, then all seems well at reboot time.


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November 2019

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


We are floating somewhere in el Golfo de México. Ok, floating implies just out on the water not really moving, not sure how fast we're going, but we are definitely moving. In point of fact, we are bookin'!

We spent a good four or five hours on the Mississippi River traveling from New Orleans to the Golf of Mexico. We are heading to Guatemala, Belize, Cozumel, and finally, New Orleans.

On one of these stops (Belize) we will go ashore to make an excursion to see Mayan Ruins! Yep, we are on a field trip!

The C128D.

I finally did the C128D pull and reinstall. The original goal was to set the computer up in such a way that the drives can be easily plugged in. I had pulled the HD out to hook up to the C64 to get String Math up on the internet.

When I went to put the drive back in place, I couldn't get it plugged back in. It was such a tight, precise fit before, that it was really not practical.

It seemed like once I started moving stuff around, it took a couple of days. But it actually took a couple of months!

There were added benefits.

The re-fitting to the workbench now makes things easier all around. I managed to get the R50 placement solved, plus I squoaze in the CDTV! The mice are a bit cramped, so it's not a perfect solution. :/ But I'm happy with the overall results.

A New Camera.

We have a WiFi camera designated as our official cow cam, so we can check on cows in the middle of the night when they are in the shed awaiting the arrival of a new calf. This camera gets other uses when not monitoring cows.

I placed a 16gig Micro SD card into the slot of the cow cam and set the alarm/record to record any movement during a time period when I would be physically working on the reinstall of the C128D.

I set the camera up in two locations during the course of the project and basically left it on. And here are the results:

All the previous films of equipment being set up in Voyageur Studio were done via the Panasonic Ominivision VHS camcorder. Video was then digitized onto the IBM ThinkPad R50.

This time round, a V380 security cam was used. Every time I moved into the frame area to work on the project, about 2 minutes of video was automatically recorded. I uploaded the videos onto the iMac (which is running Kubuntu 18 BTW) via the IBM ThinkPad X41 Tablet.

I command-lined the joining of all 240 some odd number of videos into one 14 hour, 1.2gig avi! I then halved the frame rate, then did .05 x frame rate then halved it again. In between some of the steps, I brought in Avidemux to fix things as well as save in a usable format.


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December 2019

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy Holidays!


We are on the way from New Orleans to our first stop. We have passed the halfway point and must be getting close.

Interesting fact and No Dah (wait for it):

We were at our hotel in New Orleans and I went to set the Local on my computer to Belize. My clock didn't change. Hmm. Boise is in the Mountain Time Zone, and Belize is in the Central Time Zone. But the clock appeared not to up date. (For a clue, remember the shopping scene in National Treasure.) I was dumb founded.

Let's try Dallas. There, time changed. Ok, it's working now. Belize. Hay it went back to Boise time. Google. Ohhhhhhh! (Remember the shopping scene in National Treasure!)

They don't have Daylight Saving Time in Belize!

Ok, I can still have the local time and I can leave my local as Boise. There you go.


Wow What a Trip!

I didn't do any more writing on the water or any place else on the trip. I was occupied by Dling photos and working on them when I did computer stuff in the early a.m.

A Rough Start.

We were in the final stages of preparation during the first part of the week prior to leaving. Things changed on Tuesday. But, let me rewind a bit.

I had been clearing the barn out prior to this vacation. My plan was locate stuff, plan a destiny for said stuff, then carry out that plan. It was not going to happen quite that way.

I had meticulously setup stuff in the barn for ease of access. I had what was to be gotten into immediately in the front of the barn. Followed by the TV/BUG and ABUG libraries, along with old toys, my train stuff, and other sundry items that I would go through as time allowed. In the very back were the eBays and storage areas. The latter of which, being in the very back along the wall.

The eBay area had an isle to access the equipment and packing materials. The storage place was sorted and placed in the very back, with it's own access isle.

Very neat and tidy. Very Orderly.

Then time hit.

Barn :( Barn :( Barn :( Barn :( Barn :(

I needed to put some empty boxes in storage from the garage to make room for other projects like the Annex and then later, the Lego Robotix Lab. I just tossed them on top of the packing materials.

Meanwhile, the rain leaked in, the irrigation seeped up from a large crack in the floor, and Amy the wonder klutz (our adopted feral cat) knocked all kinds of boxes over making access to the isles a nodda, and let's not forget why ancient cities are buried -- tons of dust.

I have ventured out to pull things out now and then, here or there, but it may as well been a tornado that hit the place, as it was a complete, and utter mess.

With the pressure of time from the impending trip it was a huge, stress-filled project.

In the process of it all, I found printers full of crap (leaves and mud), mildew on many newsletters from the clubs, lots of disks were not securely covered and were full of dust. About 20% of both club libraries was garbage.

The remainder went to The Reuseum in Garden City, Idaho, if anyone is interested. All the equipment I was selling, or just needed to part with, went there as well, as well as most of the dieHard back issues. A rather large collection, I might add. Several near complete collections of commodore magazines went there.

The people unloading the two trailer loads I took said it was great stuff! So that made me feel good about donating to them. They will find great homes for all that stuff since people go there to look for this kind of stuff.

As time passed, I had texted my cousin JoAnn several times about things like meeting for coffee, and such. I took pictures on Sunday or Monday of some driftwood my Mom had that was in the barn, asking her if she'd like them. I hadn't heard back from her and by Tuesday, I was planning to call and see if we could do a last minute get together before our vacation, even if it were only 20 minutes -- after all I was going to see Mayan temples and stuff!

I had just taken a bath after a last minute haircut, when Mia was on the phone with someone. "JoAnn is my husband's cousin." I thought, perhaps, it might be about her cabin that she had recently put on the market.

Next thing I know, I'm in the E.R. with JoAnn. Her blood had too much CO2 and had turned acidic. They were giving her pure oxygen in hopes to balance her out, but the outlook wasn't good.

She was moved to ICU where the respiratory Doctor said she was also having issues with her heart, which was a new thing. If she went on a ventilator she'd never come off, and JoAnn had adamantly requested not to do that. The machines were turned off, and she was turned toward the window (although at this point she had entered a sleep she would never awaken from).

On September 10th, at 1:45pm JoAnn Case breathed her last breath and passed.

Trish, her best friend in all the world was in Alaska. Trish got to talk to her and say what she needed to say over the phone. Roy, her other cousin and my brother also spoke to her on the phone. We got to say goodbye.

I had 4 hours with her that day. Although I am saddened by the events of that day, I am grateful to have been there. I miss her terribly.

JoAnn and I were partners in crime in the world of photography. We'd venture off in my bug and climb fences to get to old barns, enter crumbling, old buildings to see what picturesque thing awaited our shutter fingers. Those times, from mostly around my high school to early college days, were among the happiest times I spent with JoAnn.

My RightHand Cousin

JoAnn Case

A Scan From A Proof Sheet
JoAnn Case


That was Tuesday. We were leaving on that Thursday. I can't recall much, if anything of that Wednesday or even Thursday morning.

We set out on Thursday seeing much beautiful country as we went, albeit mostly desert -- what used to be grasslands (even modern biome maps claim it to be grasslands). :/

We stayed at a hotel in Denver and I got to visit my brother for a way too short of a while. It was really good to see him.

Fort Worth was our next stop. I had someone ask what we did there; it is her home town. "Pulled up in the dark, slept, and pulled out in the dark."

Next stop: New Orleans! We arrived at 3pm or so. We got settled in our hotel and then went for a drive. It was really nice to see New Orleans again -- I love New Orleans. When Mia graduated from Loyola the May of the same year Katrina hit, we stayed for a week and really got to explore the place. Music. Food. Sigh.

The next day we loaded up and went back into The French Quarter and walked around. I took a crap-ton of photos along the way. We went straight to Cafe Du Monde for beignets.

We walked over to the Mississippi, which was only 75 yards away or so, to see what was there. There was a cruise ship, the Carnival Glory, that we later verified was our ship.

Around 3 in the afternoon or so, we drove over to the pier and dropped off our checked luggage and parked at the top of the parking garage, and boarded our boat.

The first 5 hours, or so, we cruised down the Mississippi River. I had no idea how far we had to travel to get to the Caribbean from New Orleans. Then it was three wonderful days with no land in sight.

Our first stop was in Guatemala. We got off the boat and swam in the Caribbean.

Next stop, Belize.

Just a side note here. I am up the road from Placerville, Idaho, in our big van where I spent the night. It is 20 degrees Fahrenheit -- fuckass cold. I gotta tell ya, I loved the 97 degrees we had in the Tropics. I miss that, especially now. More side notes.... So as a farmer, I get a lot of hard muscle toning exercise. I also got trained up for this excursion by my day- to- day.

Check this.

At the end of the three cows' lactation, we were only milking once a day. We did this for a fairly extended period.

It was at 3 o'clock, in the heat of the day. The cow shed is really hot then, even with the door open.

I squat down to milk, cos that's where the action is. I used to bend my toes, but your boots start to come apart if you bend them like that a lot, so I squat flat footed, with my heals on the ground. That gives you a really good stretch and tones your legs. I found myself able to easily simply stand up from that position even with stuff in hand.

When we got to climbing Mayan temples, I had no troubles. Lots of people were taken back physically by the heat. I loved the heat -- it was not stuffy even though there was more moisture in the air than lakes in Idaho have ;)

Lots of people where slowin' down on the steps up, out of breath. I had absolutely no difficulties.

Those last weeks of milking in the super-heat were my boot camp for the south.

Now, I gotta point out that well over half, perhaps even higher than 75% of the people on the cruise were way over weight. This is why people in other countries think Americans are fat and lazy, because most of the people who travel are over weight. These were the people on our tour.

We got off the boat to get into an other boat to take us to shore. Then we took a bus ride to the center of the country. We boarded a smaller boat and traveled a ways until we got out and walked the Mayan temples.

A local lunch, then back the way we came to the boat.

Back to New Orleans, after a rough ride at sea. We set out for Albuquerque. Then on to Chocao Canyon. We did a super-fast explore of Pueblo Benito, then off to Mesa Verde in Colorado.

We stayed in Mesa Verde for several days. We took a tour to The Cliff Palace, a tour to Long House, then took a crazy fun hike to see petroglyphs. We saw some of the most amazing architecture ever conceived and built.

Then home.

It was a busy trip with the 4 Littles in tow, however, Victoria and Antony were along as well, so things balanced out fairly well.

Keeping busy helped, but I would have preferred to share this series of photos with my Right Hand Cuz. I was the Left Hand Cuz. I don't recall how that got started.

I dedicate these Pictures, to her: JoAnn, thank you for all those wonderful adventures we had so long ago.


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