Run with it
Wednesday, June 1st, 1988 Alive 6,245 days
One of the biggest computer magazines in the country has put me on its cover.Tonight a U.P.S. truck pulled into the driveway and gave me a long cardboard tube with next monthʼs issue of Run magazine in it. On the cover is one of my pictures, and thereʼs another one inside, with a short biography about me.
I remember someone contacting me on QCS about my computer pictures, but didnʼt think much about it. That was months ago. Now, here I am in living printed color.
And itʼs not just the magazine, there was also a check from IDG Publications for two hundred United States greenbacks inside. Thatʼs more money than I make in a month stuffing coupons into Sunday New Jersey Heralds from 7pm to midnight every Friday and Saturday night.
The picture on the cover is called Knight, and is based on a chess piece on my shelf. My sister went to Mexico and brought back a coral chess set. The Commodore 64 doesnʼt have the right colors to paint chess pieces so they look like coral, so I painted it in shades of blue so it looks like itʼs made of ice.
The 64 has a lot of colors for a computer, but theyʼre in an order that someone decided would be most needed, and not necessarily what an artist might use. The closest you can get to a range of colors is by using various blues, grays, greens, or reds:
The colors arenʼt arranged in groups, so you have to play with them to get an understanding of how they fit together. I like to use color changing to create a fade-in-fade-out effect when I write demos, or for cursors when I write games. If you change the colors quickly enough, people donʼt notice if theyʼre not quite right. Like going from brown to orange to pink and back. Do it fast enough and it passes for glowing monster eyes, and not just a kludge.
Inside the magazine is another picture of mine called Sunrise, which depicts the sun rising over Upper Highland Lake West with a little Sunfish sailing in the foreground.
I included stars in the dawning sky because it reminds me of the times that Scott and I would swim across the lake in the middle of the night, with the water black ink around us, and a cold, distant moon directly above showing us the way to shore.
I donʼt know how wide the lake is, especially on the route that we would take. My guess is itʼs a mile or two. We steered far away from the earthen dam near Breakneck Road because of all the rusted metal barrels leaking orange goo at its base, and away from the island and Turtle Rock because it gets shallow there. I donʼt like touching the bottom.
Iʼve heard it said that Turtle Rock is part of an underwater rock wall that once divided a farm that was flooded when they made the lake. Who knows if thatʼs true. But I can tell you that thereʼs an awful lot of catfish in that lake, and that they love American cheese.
The picture of Sunrise is accompanied by a little biography about me:
The part about “pursuing a B.A. In computer graphics” is a bit of wishful thinking. I told them that so they wouldn't think I was 16. Hopefully I can eventually get into the Rochester Institute of Technology to do that.
Also in the article are a few of my friends from QuantumLink: Joe Ekaitis, Peter and Paul Hughes, and James Hastings-Trew.
I donʼt know James very well. Heʼs far above me in both technique and skill. The Hughes brothers everyone knows because they put out so much quality work.
Joe I know better than the rest. Iʼve actually spoken with him on the phone. My BBS, The Nowhere BBS, has carried his comic strip T.H.E. Fox almost since it was first published back in 1986. From The Nowhere BBS, it gets relayed over the ARB network to dozens of other systems up and down the East Coast.
The “T.H.E.” in T.H.E. Fox stands for Thaddeus Horatio Eberhart, so the main characterʼs full name is Thaddeus Horatio Eberhart Fox. Naturally, heʼs a fox, and like most cartoon foxes gets into all kinds of trouble.
Also in the strip is Rapid T. Rabbit. The “T” stands for “Transit.” Joe is a big fan of buses, and seems to know everything there is to know about how big bus lines run.
Once we were on the phone and he asked me to give him a pair of cities. I donʼt remember what pair I chose, but letʼs say it was something like “New York and Denver.” He was able to instantly quote me a list of the buses Iʼd need to get from New York to Denver, including departure and arrival times. It went something like this:
He must have had all of the timetables memorized because thereʼs no way he could have looked all of that up instantly while I was sitting there on the phone with him. Rapid Transit Rabbit, indeed!
He told me that heʼs going to try to get a TV show on cable. We donʼt have cable here, but they do where he is, and he thinks they may give him some time. I donʼt know if itʼs going to be animated like The SuperFriends, or if heʼs going to dress up in a costume, or what. Some day Iʼll have to go visit him to watch cable TV and see what he does.
When I told my fellow overnight paper-stuffers at the New Jersey Herald how much I made, they didnʼt believe it. Not in a “Wow, thatʼs really cool!” way, but in a “Youʼre a fucking lair!” way. They donʼt think anyone will ever make any money with computers.
When I countered with “What about IBM?” they had no idea what I was talking about. And thatʼs why in a couple of years when Iʼm off at college in Rochester making computers do amazing things, theyʼll still be surrounded by stacks of crumpled newsprint at midnight trying to fix the coupon insertion machine.