February 21, 2000: Living in Ithaca

Today is my first full day of living in Ithaca, New York for the first time.  I have always loved Ithaca ever since Nate and I first came here on a church camping trip back around 1989.  We had camped at a boy scout camp on the west side of Cayuga Lake with our youth group from Brick Presbyterian Church.  We had gone into the city and got caught during a tornado up on the Cornell University campus and had to take shelter in the vet school until it passed and had gotten a tour from our youth group leaders who had both graduated from the school.  I remember being in a small 1980s Dodge Omni driven by Earl Hobbs.  Some kids opened the side windows and all kinds of debris just threw straight through the car.  It was crazy.

I came to Ithaca several times from 1994 until 2000 without having lived here.  Nathan Parker moved here in the fall of 1994 to attend school at Ithaca College.  I was able to visit fairly often during those first few years because our school schedules were so drastically different.  I had talked about moving to Ithaca for some time but hadn’t had a strategy to do so until this new project started and I no longer had to live in any particular location when not working on site at the client facility.  So Ithaca it was and a momentous decision it was in many ways.

Today we tried to get the apartment into some sort of order although there was little to be done.  In addition to all of my furniture I also had a giant Compaq Proliant 5000 quad Pentium server which took up all kinds of space and would move from apartment to apartment with me until many years later it was taken off of my hands by John Stephens (the Surfing IT Wizard.)  It was the prize piece of my collection at the time though.  In 2000, owning a real enterprise class Compaq Proliant was no small thing and it was quite an impressive line item on my youthful resume.  Even though I had started my IT career in June, 1994 – six years before – and had been the Director of Information Services for Nicklin Associates now since June, 1999 I was still building up my resume and laying the groundwork for my career and every little bit helped.

Additionally I had several desktop machines that I kept as “learning” machines – mostly running Caldera OpenLinux or Windows NT 4.  This list included by 1995 Digital Starion Pentium 75 computer that I bought to take with me to my second year at GMI (now Kettering University), a PentiumPro 200 Compaq DeskPro that we loving called “Oscar” and ran Windows NT 4 Server, three old Intel 486 machines (all Compaq DeskPros) that all ran Linux and a Gateway 2000 Intel 386 desktop that attempted to run Linux but did so very poorly.  I also, of course, had my Compaq Presario Pentium II 350 128MB which was my primary desktop that ran Windows 98.  I had received that computer and my main colour inkjet printer from Paul Binderman for whom I had done some consulting and he paid me by giving me the computer.  It was a fair deal at the time.  We were both very happy.

So there were many computers in the apartment and no Internet connection other than our AltaVista dial-up connection that was “free” dial-up Internet access that displayed ads to pay for itself.  I had my two paprika coloured leather Natuzzi couches which by this time had already become a bit famous amongst all of our friends. Nate had the big “Emily” couch so named because it came from Emily’s house in Perry.  We had my stereo which, at the time, consisted of a Rotel pre-amp and processor, two Marantz MA-500 monoblock amplifiers, an Adcom line controller and a pair of massive Paradigm Studio Reference 80 speakers.  Nate also had his own stereo system which included a pair of B&W 250 mini-shelf speakers and an Adcom integrated amplifier.  We both had laserdisc players as well.  My laserdisc collection took up no small amount of space either with about 350 titles amassed by this time.  (The collection was roughly at its peak here.)

Nate put his old television/VCR combo unit into his “master” bedroom and we put my Sony Trinitron into the living room.  The apartment had a nice deck too that we stored some stuff on.  We had NO space at all.

I remember very clearly how awful the shower was there.  It had some sort of “high efficiency” shower head that totally atomized the water and created a very dry feeling mist that shot out at you when you attempted to shower.  The mist had so much forced that it swirled as it came out but no actual water ever hit you.  It was very annoying.  I have never seen its like again.

The apartment, I also remember,  was an absolute cleanliness disaster.  Nate’s cousin Mandy had moved out from it some weeks or months before (his cousin Becky had lived there before Mandy did) but food that she had cooked (pasta) was still sitting on the rangetop and the fridge still had her old food in it.  We ate what we could and over several weeks the place improved slightly.

The main pastime was watching the extensive laserdisc collection.  Nate owned a few of his own but having my 350 titles there was a big deal.  People came over all of the time to watch them.

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