Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Heading home to La Mesa, CA

Amtrak's 2:04pm Pacific Surfliner pulled into Santa Barbara station at 2:04pm! Wow! It is a gorgeous afternoon.

I am in the Business Class train car. Lah dee dah! Business class features cushy seats with headrests, adjustable footrests, more legroom, tray tables and electrical outlets for laptops or DVD players. Costs a bit more than coach seats.

Amtrak vs my car
When I was younger, during my RVer years, I could drive distances without too much strain. Now I am in my 78th year. Even driving 100 miles is problematic.

I know friends [ie; Bill and Carol who recently drove their RV to Mazatlan] who are about my age and have no problems with distance driving. It's me that is the problem! The train is sooooo relaxing. Smooth stopping and starting. Quiet. A pleasurable trip.

5pm - Passing thru Burbank Ca
My Amtrak train is passing thru Burbank. Off to the left we view a lovely full moon! Tried to capture a moon pic with my iPhone, and it came out crummy. So, you'll have to take my word that this full moon actually is lovely.

A little while ago I made a Men In Black Taxi reservation to pick me up at the San Diego Amtrak station at 8:15pm.

Uncle Seymour advised me to use the Uber Taxi Service because Uber has a good reputation for good service at low prices. But I could not find hardly any online Uber reviews. Men In Black Taxi had a ton of good reviews so I chose MIB over Uber.

Computer reminiscing
Both my children were computer talented kids. During summer school in 1980 when son David was 15, he took a computer class. By the time summer school ended, David was programming in several languages including machine language.

In September, 1980, David hit me up for a loan to buy a computer. There was a computer store in downtown Walnut Creek CA run by a couple guys from Iran. David and I went down there to see what was available.

I swear to God, at that time I had no conception what a computer was, or what could be done with one. While David walked around looking at computer models, I prowled the store trying to make sense of these things. I spotted a software package called "Visicalc". This was described as a "computerized spreadsheet".

I knew what a spreadsheet was! I used a paper spreadsheet to do the accounting for my two restaurants. But nothing clicked in my head while I was in that computer store.

David settled in on a Commodore PET, this computer being close to what he used in the summer school class. For $3,500 we got the Commodore computer and a 9-pin dot matrix printer. This was an extremely high price for what was really a toy computer [in my opinion, looking back].

Now get this, at that time home computers did not have hard drives because I do not believe that a low cost hard drive for home computers had been developed yet!

The Commodore came with 4kb of RAM and (2) 5-1/4" floppy disk drives. These floppy drives were 180kb each. The storage capacity of this Commodore computer was sooooo small.

By December, 1980, I had gone back to Walnut Creek Computers and bought that Visicalc spreadsheet software. I began to switch my paper spreadsheets to the computer. Soon son David and I were struggling with each other for computer time.

Those were amazing times!


  1. Who doesn't love a train ride -- sounds very relaxing.

  2. You'll never be "a problem," George. You know how to live right!

    Lah dee dah ... Hilarious! Thanks for the chuckle.


  3. You have earned that lah dee dah, George! I wish we had more mass transit,and way fewer cars!

  4. George, it's wonderful to see you blog more frequently.
    Life is a series of adjustments, isn't it? Some painful, some wonderful.
    Happy Hanukkah !

  5. George,
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  6. A Very Merry Christmas George from beautiful Mazatlan. We talk of our times together here often. Went to El Quelite restaurant the other day. I still have the picture of us in front of the mural.

    1. The three of us at El Quelite is a very good memory!