This weekend I’m down in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with my family. With the exception of last year, we visit Myrtle Beach every March because it coincides with the Myrtle Beach Marathon, which my older brother flies down to run (after running the full marathon one year and starving while we waited for lunch at Sea Captain’s House, he has since decided that the half-marathon is a more reasonable distance).
Even before my brother’s career as an amateur long-distance masochist, we have been visiting Myrtle Beach as a family. We used to come every summer for a big South Carolina Public Works convention, so Myrtle Beach’s tacky neon charm holds a certain nostalgia for me. These annual visits are not just a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family, but to relive the glow of childhood nostalgia.
The rest of this post may be delayed, as I am—as the preview noted—in Myrtle Beach with family. Don’t worry, subscribers, I should have it finished soon. —TPP
The tug of nostalgia is a strong one. I’m only thirty-five, and I already feel it from time to time. Indeed, I’ve always been a sucker for nostalgia, which a psychologist might argue is one of the reasons I studied history. Perhaps. I also just enjoy learning trivia.
Regardless, Audre’s post caught my attention because I have been contemplating the literal, physical act of walking lately (although I often take metaphorical strolls down memory lane, too). I’ve put on a bit of weight in The Age of The Virus, so I’ve taken up walking as a way to complement a regimen of calorie counting (which is more of a loose, back-of-the-envelope calorie guesstimate each day).
I’m trying to get in around two miles of focused walking a day, mostly around Lamar. Although work commitments don’t always make that possible, I do find that simply going about my work results in around two miles of walking in aggregate. I’m curious to see what my step totals will be once the school year resumes, and I’m dashing about between classes, pacing the rows of students, and striding across the boards as I teach.
I’m not a runner, by any means. My older brother loves to run, and has the physique to show for it. More power to him, but I know myself well enough to know it’s not something I want to do. Runners swear oaths to running’s efficacy and delights, but gasping for breath in 100-degree weather with maximum humidity doesn’t appeal to me. Walking at a brisk clip in that weather, though, is at least bearable—once I’ve embraced the stickiness and the sweat, I can go for a couple of miles easily, and sometimes three or four.
Yesterday I wrote about SimRefinery, the oil refinery software lost to time (I’m praying it’s sitting on a long-forgotten floppy disk somewhere). What I didn’t tell you was that I had succumbed to a mild but annoying stomach virus, so I was essentially useless for the rest of the day.
Of course, what better way to spend one’s time when sick than with video games? After writing about SimEarth and doing some nostalgic reading about the world-building simulator, I tracked down a playable DOS version. A helpful commenter also linked to the game’s 200-plus-page manual, which is necessary for accessing the game. Anyone familiar with 1990s-era computer technology will recall that, in order to prevent piracy, games would often ask users to look up some piece of information buried in the manual, the theory being that if you owned the game legally, you’d have the manual.
During this sickly walk down memory lane, I realized how much I had forgotten about SimEarth. The game is more complicated than I remember. It’s not that deep, but what makes it difficult is balancing all the different inputs to your planet—the amount of sunlight, how much of that sunlight is reflected by the clouds and the surface, how much cloud cover to have, how quickly animals mutate and reproduce, how frequently meteors strike the surface, etc., etc.