Computers actually existed before the PC…

This is part of a hilarious conversation I had with my daughter today on Skype. She is a freshman Environmental Studies major in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. She was born in 1991 and grew up with the pc. I got my Computer Science degree in 1984.

During this conversation she learns for (apparently) the first time that we did not always have pc’s…

daughter: the academic building is all the language studies and liberal arts
and its like another world
people dress different
no cowboy boots or camo
but scarves and european man bags
and guys with long hair and a guy with a mohawk and kilt.
this is where I need to meet friends ha

me: yeah
liberal arts
that’s my major

daughter: what?
thats weird. I dont think computer science is liberal arts now.

me: my major is bachelor of science in computer science in the college of liberal arts
me: it’s not
after i left it got moved to engineering

daughter: yeah engineering

me: i’m so glad it wasn’t in engineering when i was in it
i would have hated that
i liked liberal arts

daughter: but wouldnt the curriculum be the same?
just in a new college

me: no not at all
it’s more like engineering

daughter: really?

me: all regimented and hard
it’s a hard degree now

daughter: so the whole degree changed but yours is still called computer science

me: back in the day it was theory
there were no pc’s
not invented yet

daughter: cool then you have a degree that sounds harder than it is

me: same degree. i just got it while the getting was good

daughter: what? the computer wasnt invented?

me: yeah
good for me
lucked out for once
me: only mainframes were invented
you had to reserve time to log into it to do homework

daughter: I dont get what a computer science degree person would do after they graduated. Invent the computer?

me: no
the computer was invented
pc’s were not

daughter: what?

me: they were mainframes as big as a room

daughter: nevermind.
I dont know what mainframe means

me: then we did computer support stuff and programmed
me: search on
computer mainframe
and then click on images
and you’ll see ictures
that’s what i did
just like that










daughter: unix?

me: no, dos
do you see the pictures?

daughter: its looking to me like a science lab
but okay

me: yeah well your little laptop is a zillion times more powerful
those huge machines were like 128K
and ridiculously small
had to be shared
not even into gigabytes at all

daughter: what?

me: what what?

daughter: so not even my music would fit into that large thing?

me: no

daughter: its like a new world for you these days

me: hahahha

daughter: I wonder if that will happen to me
if my computer will be obsolete

me: if you move to germany it might, otherwise you will never know because the US is going backwards

daughter: ha ha ha

me: yes your computer will be obsolete in less than 10 years


What NOT To Eat if you’re a yogi

Recently my daughter discovered a truly unique website. Called This is why you’re fat, the website is nothing but picture after picture of unbelievably gluttonous, and mostly meat and cheese concoctions, some of which are (I have to admit) hilarious. Too horrible to look away, I found myself laughing out loud more than once.

Here are a few pictures of some of the ones I feel compelled to share:

The Bacon Mug –
A giant mug made out of bacon filled with cheddar cheese.

Bacon Wrapped French Toast Sticks Stonehenge

Inside-Out Spaghetti & Meatballs –
A giant meatball stuffed with spaghetti, marinara sauce and ricotta cheese.

Meat (in) loaf

The Meat-Up –
Ground Beef, topped with 2 pepperoni logs, stuffed with Cheez Whiz,
topped with a layer of bacon, topped with a layer of mozzarella cheese slices,
topped with more bacon, topped with meatballs,
and served with brown gravy.

The 30,000 Calorie Sandwich –
Sandwich filled with ground beef, bacon, corn dogs,
ham, pastrami, roast beef, bratwurst, braunschweiger and turkey,
topped with fried mushrooms, onion rings, swiss/provolone/cheddar/feta/parmesan cheeses,
lettuce and butter on a loaf of white bread.

The Widowmaker –
1.5 lbs of ground beef, 1 package of bacon, 1 package of italian sausage,
1 box of hot pockets, 1/2 package of fried onion strips between 2 Tombstone Pepperoni Pizzas
topped with Velveta Cheese and Marinara Sauce.

Pork Brains in Milk Gravy (didn’t know this was possible)

Pen Challenge

The other day I was looking out the window at my fence and I had the nonsequitous idea that I bet I could go the rest of my life and never buy another writing pen or pencil. The reason being there must be billions of them floating around out there and if I tried I could probably acquire 10 new pens a week without much effort. Besides that I know we must have hundreds of pens and pencils around here.


We counted.

Sandra had around 120 pens and pencils in her desk. She doesn’t hoard them. She is the most frugal pen/pencil user on the planet. One at a time she uses a pen all the way until it dries up. One at a time she uses a pencil until it is a 1″ nub. She has accumulated them for years as we had to buy required amounts of school supplies every year that never got used up. We don’t buy the required supplies anymore.

I had 63 pens and pencils in my desk including rollerball pens. To my credit 10 pens and 20 pencils were still in the boxes from when I bought them at the 10 pens for a dollar (and 20 pencils for a dollar) back to school sale. I like office supply stores. That’s my excuse.

In the end Nicole never counted because her pens and pencils tend to be spread all over the house and are more of a challenge to count. She already uses pens and pencils as she finds them and they come and go.


Anyway, I told Sandra that since she turns 18 in about 2 weeks she should make the resolution to see if she can go her whole adult life and never buy a pen or pencil. After some discussion she said I should start this as well on her 18th birthday.

Then followed about 2 hours of discussion proposing “what if” scenarios and ground rules. What if rollerball pens are on sale for 1 penny? Or two pennies? Or three pennies? What if someone gives you a gift of a pen or pencil? What about art pens or pencils? What about refillable leads? Is it ok to collect them, or just use the ones that come to you? And on and on… 🙂 .

Anyway, we took the challenge. If you would like to join us in our never-buy-another-writing-pen-or-pencil-for-the-rest-of-my-life-challenge you are welcome to.

After we made the commitment, we counter-intuitively went to the art supply store so Sandra could buy the last pen of her life. We started early but the official challenge start date is September 16.