I went on a nostalgia trip today… dragged the old 8-bit computer out of the cupboard and played a few Donkey Kong variants. Found an old magazine in a box extolling the virtues of owning an Atari 2600. Ah, those were the days… the graphics were crap, the sound was crap, the gameplay was… hmmm… but boy, was it fun.
I can just imagine showing one of those things to today’s Nintendo super Sega Megadrive generation. And watching their facial expressions saying "what the hell is this?!"
Yes, I confess, I was once envious of friends who had Pong. I do remember how to put an Apple ][ into graphics mode. And I have a Beeb that still works. You know, despite the seventies revival, I haven’t spotted anyone playing Break-out lately. But elsewhere in the computer industry, the seventies never really went away. Look at all the poor sods still programming in COBOL. They probably think it’s an example of "when you’re onto a good thing, stick to it". Problem is… it isn’t. Which is why in Uni we knew it was Crappy Old Bloody ‘Orrible Language.
I’m holding, in my other hand(*), a box of twine. What strange stuff, twine. It must come from a twine factory. I wonder how many people work there. And what they say at parties when people ask them what they do. "Oh well… I make twine. Yeah, you know how when you get the packet, how one end of the twine ball is sticking out of the hole in the top. I do that. I find the end and stick it out of the hole."
I also notice on the box it says "open flap for instructions." Well, thank God for that. I tell you what, I’d be lost without instructions on how to use my twine. They’d have to open a 24 hour Twine Line, for distressed users of twine. "Oh, you’ve got to help me, I got my twine home, and I just can’t think what I’m going to do with it. I’ve tried everything – cooking with it, programming the VCR with it, even sex. You’ve got to help me, please." But no, there are instructions inside boxes of twine. It probably just says "tie stuff".
(*) the one I’m not typing with.
So, the Australian Winter Olympic team… from the land down under… from the wide brown flat land of searing sun and steaming kangaroo shit… have finally managed to get a medal. That’s right, Australia has got a Winter Olympics medal for the first time ever. Bronze. And while the rest of the country bathes in the euphoria, what I want to know is, why did it take so bloody long?!
The first thing you notice about Sydney is how all the tourist attractions are within about a ten minute walk of one another. And that with a bit of careful aiming, you can get them all into one photo.
The Sydney Opera House looks from a distance like giant sails against the sky, but up close it looks even more impressive. Makes you wonder why they went to that amount of trouble just for opera. I hope they use it for something more sensible sometimes.
The Harbour Bridge is pretty neat too. It’s so neat you can use up a whole roll of film just trying to photograph it from all the different angles, and making sure that you get the whole of it in the picture. In fact it’s so big that they’ve managed to squeeze a whole museum into one of the pylon thingies. Wherein you can enjoy a quite interesting documentary about how the bridge was built, followed by a very boring and over-detailed documentary about how the new Harbour Tunnel was built. Yawn. Sorry guys, the Harbour Tunnel is not an attraction. For Chrissake, you can’t even see it!
The Rocks area is so crawling with tourists that you can walk around and try and see how many people’s home movies you can get into in ten minutes. You can spend the same amount of time searching for a simple kiosk that will sell you a simple drink, before giving up and moving on to Circular Quay.
At Circular Quay, you can try to figure out the ticket machines, then take a ride on a ferry to Darling Harbour, which was built to… ummm… actually, I’m not sure, but I’m sure its better than whatever it replaced. There you can take a ride on a monorail, which mostly involves dredging up $2.50 of change from your pocket to put into a machine, only to get back another (special) coin, which you when have to put straight into another machine. I think I’m missing something.
But the best thing about Sydney for me was seeing that Kings Cross really is a dump, even in daytime. A fine rival for Fitzroy Street here in Melbourne. I still can’t figure out why both of them are tourist attractions.