Evening

It is starting to get dark outside. Late summer and the heat was stifling. I am sitting in my room with the curtains drawn closed, wondering what things I can write about that will matter.

I had a day of sobriety today. I wasn’t even tempted to buy beer. After the way it knocked me out yesterday, I am starting to be afraid of alcohol. Beer is worse than any other drug I have ever experimented with. Weed had a hold on me for almost 20 years of my life, but it seldom did anything worse than give me crazy ambition to do things like build electronic circuits and listen to shortwave radio.

Electronics. That was something I used to do with perfboard, components, and a soldering iron. I started experimenting with electronics when I was 12 years old and my parents got me a kit, a sound amplifier, to build for my deaf brother. Then I got the Radio Shack experimenter’s books. I started building things from them and buying components at the store. This was back in the days when Pong was a state of the art video game. Now electronics means computers and iPhones and tablet computers. I can’t even service any of those, and you sure as shit couldn’t build one from scratch.

I never took any classes in electronics in school until I was a couple years into the physics program at the University of Michigan. Back then I wasn’t drinking, but I was smoking a lot of weed and hashish. I worked as a kitchen runner and assistant cook at the West Quad dorm to pay my way through school. I got a VIC-20 computer, my first computer, and programmed it in BASIC to do data analysis on some of the experiments I did in physics class. I also had a programmable calculator. Now, even though I have software, I almost never write computer programs. I use the computer as I used to use encyclopedias.

Remember the encyclopedia? A whole shelf of books with all the information on things arranged alphabetically. I used to read encyclopedias. I even have the Encarta encyclopedia on CD-ROM somewhere on my shelf. Wikipedia is my default encyclopedia now. Crowdsourcing allows vast accumulations of data impossible with the old ways of hiring writers and editors. I have to really wonder about who uses this information though, considering some of it could be considered as being sensitive.

I read a blog post today that one of my readers posted about this new block editor. Seriously, it hasn’t been an issue for me. From what I can figure out, the new editor is a lot like desktop publishing software, in that it lets you compose a page with different layout functions. I generally just write in paragraphs, so it is a non-issue for me. You type, hit enter, new paragraph. I used a verse block in my last post, but it put my poem in a fixed font that looked ugly and put an even uglier scroll frame around it. Oh well, when I want to post a poem in future I will just use the code editor.

I have done a good deal of writing for the day. I think now I am going to find something interesting to watch on YouTube. Maybe I will study up on how to write programs in Python 3, which I have installed on this machine. I also have an implementation of C, somewhere I have BASIC, and of course Java. Python seems interesting to me though, because it has a lot of list functions that would come in handy for natural language processing. There is also a big library of shared functions in PyPi, or whatever they call it. I have a book on Python as well. Maybe I can write a program to do these blog posts. Seems like more trouble than it would be worth though. TTYL.

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