ASCII by Jason Scott

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Vintage Computer Festival Midwest 3.0 —

This past weekend put me on the way to Indianapolis, Indiana, where my father went to graduate school and where I’d never even been near in my life. (I shot into some part of Indiana for the BBS Documentary but that was basically a fly-by, like I did with Minnesota, Kansas and Oklahoma. I’ve been to these places but I’ve not really been to them.) The plane brought me in at around midnight, and after a hilarious interlude where I demanded a car to rent at Hertz and found out it was the manager’s own car, I rented a convertible black Mustang and drove the 50 miles to West Lafayette to attend VCF Midwest.

As it turns out, West Lafayette is hopping at 3am (when I got in). The bars had people out front, as well as the coffee houses. Folks were milling around, tooling about on bikes, and I saw a place that I didn’t have time to ever go to but which is on my list: The XXX Root Beer, an all-night car hop which I’d never seen the likes of. It turns out the reason for this is that there’s only two left, one in Issaquah, Washington and this one. I gotta go back for that!

I had the pleasure of speaking the first day, presenting the “secret life” of computer historians. I give this speech about a 6; most of the audience didn’t require any advocacy of computer history, and my searching around for amusing things to get them charged up went mostly nowhere. But I had a fun time giving it, all told.

After me came Trixter, who was the reason I was excited to come in the first place. Any time I can spend with the Eye of Doom is great time, and it turned out we got a LOT of time together.

Vintage Computer Festivals are basically county-fair like showcases, with people bringing out equipment, literature, wares for sale and whatever else they feel deserves a table. For my own bit, I brough a stack of the documentary; sold 12 copies, 10 to one person. I also got to go around and see a bunch of unique stuff I hadn’t seen before, along with a lot of stuff I HAD seen before, but not since the early 1980s.

A highlight for me was Mike’s Geek Museum, where he’s assembling not just computers, but toys, documentation, stickers and what-have-you into a real well-rounded collection.

So, that last photo is the rental car and Trixter. What happened was, around 6pm on Saturday, We shot westward to Illinois, where I interviewed Chris Forman, who has an amazing, amazing collection of text adventures. This trip took 3 hours each way, which means, yes, six hours in the car. If you’re going to spend six hours in a car, it better be a damn fine ride. And it was. It was great to have uninterrupted time with a good friend, and who could ask for more than that?

Got back to the hotel at 6am Sunday, shot off for my airport at 9am, was home at 3pm, loaded over with new footage. Life is good.

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  1. Bob Hunter says:

    6 hours isn’t bad. My wife! and I spent 7 hours round trip (from Illinois) with a 2 year old and 4 year old to hear you speak.

  2. Jason Scott says:

    Oh, I hope it was worth it.

  3. Bob Hunter says:

    Oh my yes!

  4. dwo shwoom says:

    I’m in the first picture talking to the trs-80 booth owner about cassete storage, i learned so much that day.

    anyway, that presentation didnt bore everybody, you heard my mom and grandma laughing, right?

    If you dont remember me, i sat up at the front on the opposite side of the 5150, and i also asked both you and trixter to sign my shirt.