Saturday 1 April 2000

Looking at TV

Pic of the day: Dreams can take many shapes.
(This picture is severely anonymized to protect the innocents.)

Dreams are cheap

I woke up at 5:30 from a dream that felt important but I can't imagine why. I dreamt that my parents had a new farm (hello? They are in their 70es) and to my amazement I saw that it looked exactly like the previous one had looked when I was a small child. There was the old, small yellow house, and there was the big stone that had been blasted to pieces when I was a kid. And I walked along the small stream which was just like the one that had been put in concrete pipes, the one where I used to play so often as a kid. And where that stream crossed the road were both of my parents, working hard physical work, while I was just observing it all, as if I really were a small child with no guilt about seeing others work. Then I woke up.


My early childhood feels improbably long ago and far away. I remember the horse-drawn wagon that was our "car" for quite a bit of my childhood. Later we got an old gray van that refused to start in rainy weather, and a brand new tractor which we shared with the neighbor. I used to sit on the tractor even when the motor was not running, enjoying the feel of it, the smell of it, the sheer tractorhood of it. And it's not like I was 2 years old or anything. How old can I have been? 12? Certainly not 14? I sure hope not, though I'm not going to swear. I was certain that our tractor was simply the best. After all, was it not air-cooled while all the others around were water-cooled? It simply had to be better. The thought never strafed me that my father and the neighbor might have bought that particular brand because it was cheap and they didn't have much money.

Now I live my life on the Internet, and moan about the lack of competition for the local McDonalds eatery. (We really could have used a Burger King. Come on, this is a town of 70 000 people, plus students.) I've been a grown-up (of sorts) for only half my life, and yet it feels like it was a century ago. We shared a telephone line with 4 (?) other farms, and each had a different ring signal, a combination of short and long rings, so that even though the phone rang at all the farms at the same time, we could still know which one it was for. Not that people could afford to use the phone a lot. In the evening, I would tune in the old radio on Deutschlandfunk (even though I don't like Germany, remember April 1940) but it was something different from the state-owned national broadcasting. I would even listen to Radio Moscow's news in Norwegian. Now I have all the world at my fingertips. Well, nearly all the world.


This is not an April joke. I don't suffer April fools gladly. I told you already yesterday that it would be a good idea to not buy the Norwegian issue of Incite PC Games. They must necessarily be stupid, since they only gave The Sims 4 stars out of 5. Anyway, if you need more proof, here's what happened when I tried to install the Railroad Tycoon II Gold demo.

The installer program proudly proclaimed that this was not a demo. It was the full game, but I would have to register online for a few hours of free play, and then buy it (online) if I wanted to continue using it. Oh well. It meant I had to clear some space on my hard disk again, as the game was somewhere around 300 MB. I obediently made plenty of room and installed it from the CD, then started. The first thing it did was connect to the Internet and log on the NetActive site. I sheepishly gave them my e-mail address and signed up for 4 hours of free play. You could also pay online to register the game. I hope you don't. The next thing it did, after disconnecting, was asking for the original Railroad Tycoon II Gold CD.

I kid you not. Hello? Helloooo? If I had the original CD, I would most assuredly not sign up with someone else to play. I cannot believe the stupidity. I know that the growth of the human brain climaxed ca 30,000 years ago, and that it has been shrinking since. But I find it hard to think that they could have made it this far without heavy crossbreeding with monkeys. Though perhaps really close inbreeding in a particularly intellectually challenged side branch of humanity's bushy tree could do.

OK, it may be that there is a master plan here that eludes me, and which does not include trying to fool customers into paying for a worthless heap of disk filler that you claim is one of the more popular computer games at the time. But as it stands, it seems like either Bonnier or Channelware Inc are morons, or expect their custors to be. Or both of the above. (Oh, and incidentally, since you probably think I am a moron too: I had the CD that followed the magazine, in the drive. All the time. So if the program had meant that CD, it could just had looked in the only CD drive on the machine.)

Ahem. I guess you have concluded by now that I would have liked that demo. In fact, I just might have bought the game, because I loved the original Railroad Tycoon by Sid Meier. One of my all time favorites. Oh well. I still have The Sims, and the first (perhaps only) patch is out. Not that I have had more than marginal problems (like the snacks that could not be cleaned up, which is no worse than some of the things that happen here in the Chaos Node in real life).


It is a peaceful Saturday evening. While I am downloading the Sim patch and the real Railroad Tycoon II demo from Gathering Of Developers, I've been reading e-mail and other people's journals. I must admit that I am disturbed inside by the sheer amount of angst among young girls. Perhaps the boys feel it too, but keep it inside until they cannot stand it anymore. Or perhaps it is a hormone thing, or perhaps it comes from the conflicting demands that are made of young girls. They shall, after all, be chaste and sexy, thin and curved, good at school but look up to the boys (who are generally doing poorly at that age). They are supposed to be treated like kids and behave like adults, only without doing the things adults do. I guess it can be tough at times, and having your basic body chemistry go rollercoaster probably doesn't help.

Then again, it could be that the angsty ones sit at home and write, while the happy majority is out dancing. Especially on a Saturday night.

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