The Enduring Allure of Choose Your Own Adventure Books

I didn’t realize how involved the children of divorced dads Packard and Montgomery were in the creation of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” gamebooks. (The children of divorced dad Will Crowther were one motivation for, and were early playtesters for, Crowther’s original Colossal Cave Adventure; the history of parser text adventure games and branching path gamebooks overlap in time and theme.) You were a girl who wanted to choose your own adventures. Which is to say, you were a girl who never had adventures. You always followed the rules. But, when you ate an entire sleeve of graham crackers and…

Checking out of @frontporchtheatricals Grand Hotel. What an experience!

My brother had already planned to visit from Virginia to see Carolyn in the closing of Grand Hotel. We were already driving to the theater when we got word that Aunt Rona is visiting yet another cast member, and the final show is cancelled. So we stopped by Julie’s Bubble Tea and Smoothies for a consolation treat. I’m glad the producers put everyone’s health first. We hadn’t told my brother that Carolyn was scheduled to go on again as Flaemchen. (But his face when she showed him a photo of herself in costume was priceless.)

I did not know how much I would appreciate this detailed exploration of Star Trek: TOS prop computers.

I’m amazed at the level of detail that went into analyzing the prop computers created over 50 years ago for the original Star Trek. Not only has this website collected screen shots of the various props, but some include diagrams indicating which practical buttons on the props activated which lights. (The same website has sections on reused set elements, changes in the depiction of Klingon foreheads, and more.) Back in the 60’s and early 70’s the thought of having a portable desk-top computer was unthinkable. This made the computer props from Star Trek so intriguing and just plain cool. During…

Nellie Bly statue to be unveiled at Pittsburgh airport Thursday

In 1889, Bly became famous for an-around-the-world journey she completed in a world-record 72 days, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds after her departure on a steamship from New York. The journey was inspired by Jules Verne’s widely read novel “Around the World in 80 Days.” Bly chronicled her travels in a series of articles for the New York World newspaper and ended up writing a book of her own, “Around the World in Seventy-Two Days,” published in 1890. She was born as Elizabeth Jane Cochran near present-day Burrell Township in Armstrong County in 1864. Source: Nellie Bly statue to be…

This the last hour I will have a teenager in my house. (Tomorrow my youngest turns 20.)

I blogged in 2004: “The time is waning that my son will want nothing more than to play Battleship and The Magnificent Race with me all afternoon. Some day I’ll make a silly joke, and my daughter won’t giggle with glee, she will roll her eyes and say, ‘Dad, you’re embarrassing me.’”   This the last hour I will have a teenager in my house. (Tomorrow my youngest turns 20.)   Sunrise… sunset.

Windows 3.1 Turns 30: Here’s How It Made Windows Essential

After watching all the episodes of the 80s/90s Star Trek: TNG, with the beautifully designed fictional LCARS computer interfaces, it’s amazing to look at what actual computer interfaces looked like in the early 90s. (OK, the Macs of that era looked prettier.) 30 years ago—on April 6, 1992—Microsoft released Windows 3.1, which brought the company to a new level of success, kept the PC platform competitive with Macs, and set the stage for Windows PC domination. Here’s what was special about it. –Benj Edwards, How-To Geek


All Good Things… (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 25) Picard faces a timey-wimey puzzle in three different timelines

Rewatching ST:TNG When we all first met the crew of the Enterprise-D, I was an undergraduate living in a dorm at the University of Virginia. Seven years later, I was a Ph.D. student in a dorm at the University of Toronto. I saw the series finale on a channel that was hosting a huge live watch party at what was then known as Toronto’s SkyDome. When a certain iconic spaceship appeared and blew a hole through a hostile vessel, through my open windows I could hear a huge roar from the 40,000 trekkers watching a few blocks away. I’ve really…

Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance, lost since 1915, is found off Antarctica

An expedition that set out in search of the lost ship of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton has found it — 106 years after the vessel sank off Antarctica. The wooden ship Endurance has been located remarkably intact about 10,000 feet underwater in the Weddell Sea. The find is “a milestone in polar history,” said Mensun Bound, a maritime archaeologist and the director of exploration on the expedition, called Endurance22. “This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen. It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact and in a brilliant state of preservation. You can even see ‘Endurance’…


Parallels (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 11) Worf gets technobabbled into a timeline where he married Troi

Rewatching ST:TNG After returning victorious from a bat’leth tournament, Worf is ambushed by a surprise birthday party, where a chocolate cake turns yellow, his big pointy first place trophy turns into a ninth place blob, and things continue diverging from the recent past he remembers. A great comic scene features a terrified Worf reacting when a very relaxed Troy undoes his ponytail and gives him a backrub. (As she sees it, she is just helping her husband of four years to relax.) The structure of the story is a little herky-jerky; sometimes, when Worf jumps to a new parallel universe,…