Musing on nostalgia

March 23, 2013 — 3 Comments

ancientJavaDocSo, I just stumbled onto this butt-ugly JavaDoc page, which reminds me of the early nineties and I have to say, it gave me a strange, warm-fuzzy kind of feeling. The last time I saw a JavaDoc like this, applets were actually cool. Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise comes to mind. Michael Jackson is still alive (perhaps also still cool). Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is the shiznit. Internet Explorer wasn’t even born yet (the good old days). This is what they call nostalgia. Look at this beautiful monstrosity…

ancientJavaDocStyle

At the time of this writing, Wikipedia describes nostalgia as…

a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

For me nothing…nothing brings it back like the Commodore 64.

Commodore64

Look at those big, puffy keys and that red LED that just screams “I’m on!” She’s a real beauty, isn’t she? She was my second obsession (after the VIC 20); I was eleven or twelve years old when I got her. There was also, of course, the Atari 2600, but that’s a whole other story.

C64_magazineAnyway, I remember sitting for hours and hours with a copy of Commodore Magazine, typing in about twenty pages of BASIC code found in the middle pages. I had no freagin’ clue what the hell I was typing. All I knew was that if I got it right, my computer might do something awesome – play a song, render an 8-bit game like the Towers of Hanoi, or use my name in a story. I never got one of those programs to work. Not a one.

I do remember the very first working program I wrote though. It went something like this:

10 PRINT “HELLO, MY NAME IS LISA.”;
20 INPUT “WHAT IS YOUR NAME?”, A$;
30 PRINT “HELLO, ” + A$ + “. NICE TO MEET YOU.”;

I wanted to make the characters type across the screen like they did on that green CRT in the movie War Games. Remember that one? With Mathew Broderick? “SHALL WE PLAY A GAME?” I couldn’t figure it out, but my teacher in middle school later showed me how to do it with a for loop on a TRS-80 (a.k.a Trash-80).

I’m not all nerd. Of course there are other things that give me that nostalgic feeling. Star Wars figures, for example. The original motion picture soundtrack by John Williams on 8-track tape. OK, still nerdy. But how about Beaches with Bette Midler? Just you try and watch that again without sobbing like a baby. Flashdance. Footloose. Fangoria Magazine.

Do you get this warm-fuzzy with certain things? Things that bring you back to a time and a place when the worst of your worries was a pissed off mom or dad? Or whether or not you’d get the guts enough to kiss someone? Or never mind LOST, how about the original tropical island suspense featuring Gilligan, Maryann, and the Skipper?

Nostalgia; I love it, don’t you?

I’m curious. What triggers it for you? What gives you that warm-fuzzy when you indulge in recollections of the past? Please comment…

  • Dave Hay

    Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be :-)

  • Dave Hay

    I get the same warm-n’-fuzzy when I hear music from the 80s, much of which reminds me of happy days “hacking” on my Sinclair ZX-81, Spectrum or BBC Micro, much of which involved keying in listings from magazines. Back in those days, we didn’t have PCs at home, so we used “microcomputers’ as opposed to “minicomputers” or “mainframes”.

  • Dave Hay

    or, as Billy Joel never sang “We didn’t own an iPad” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeEWtNaW6KE