8-Bit Realitaly

Yesterday’s Daily Create C64 Yourself was a treat. The idea, run a picture of yourself through the C64 image generator. This was particularly fun for me because I have been on a real life C64 bender. In fact, we recently had our good friends Jennie and Mikhail in town, and Mikhail caught me red-handed with the Conan: Hall of Volta diskette.


Antonella’s mom gave me her old Commodore 128 to play with, and I have lost many an hour exploring this brave old world of computing. I’ve been in a bit of an alternative universe more generally since coming to Italy, 10 months ago I was worried this whole thing wasn’t going to work. Turns out I am living as well as I ever have. Our situation has been insane, and I know full well we are living far above our station thanks to Antonella’s friends and family. And while nothing gold can stay, I’ll take what may very well be the happiest time in my life for as long as it lasts.

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We’ve also been really fortunate to have good friends like Shannon Hauser, Brian Lamb, Mark Morvant and his awesome family, and Jennie & Mikhail come visit Bavilla—and we’ve actually had the time and space to entertain (something I’m beginning to really enjoy). To that end, the picture I chose for yesterday’s Daily Create was not the one Mikhail took featuring me in front of a C64, well technically a C128. Instead, I chose the image below that Jennie took of me in front of the fiery pizza oven in our backyard with the modest background of vineyards and mountains. It’s crazy this is starting to feel somewhat normal. We had a pizza party Sunday night, and our friends here in Italy (Andrea, Tania, Giorgio, Claudia,) came by to hang with our American friends. It was a good time, and the pizza was insanely delicious. Jennie took this picture as I was officially handing off the baton to Giorgio (who actually grew up in this house) who was taking over the pizza oven and would proceed to make anywhere from 15-20 pizzas over the next 2 hours.*


But I love the picture because I think it captures the sense of my crazy 8-bit RealItaly. And nothing looks better in 8-bit than vineyards and brick ovens. AzU74CiOk6UrAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC And this simple exercise in re-framing the pixels of reality in some ways captures the way I feel about being in Italy and looking back at America through social media. It seems oddly surreal, or even hyper-real, as I peek out from a C64 reality into a retina-display nightmare of seemingly endless violence, stupidity, and abuse that comes through my various feeds. I know no place is immune to these things, but it resonates quite differently when that is no longer your context for living.


*I was simply employed to keep the fire burning for five hours before we started cooking.

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8 Responses to 8-Bit Realitaly

  1. Jim good. Jim make fire. Jim stay away from cooking pizza 😉

    So cool to see Mikhail and Jenny there. Ok, I’m jealous.

    It’s funny because it was seeing your excited posts and tweets, pictures with Tommy and the C64 that made me want to do some kind of little image thing to tweet. Then I found the C64 emulator. Then it seems worthy to make a Daily Create. Then other people do crazy things with it.

    This is the un-planned, un-slap-some-academic-theory on it name that makes ds106 the best. The riffing, the thing that leads from one unexpected corner of the net to another. It’s so far from “digital storytelling” as some kind of packaged ed-tech solution. It is totally the web.

    Keep that fire alive.

    • Reverend says:

      As my hero Billy Joel noted “We didn’t start the fire” You continue to be pure web magic, Dog, keep that leg shaking! 🙂

  2. Todd Conaway says:

    Nice work Mr. Groom. Good living. Keeping the fire burning is a noble job and one you do well.

  3. Chris Lott says:

    I need to visit Bavilia. More than that, I want to visit with all of the people pictured, mentioned and commenting. Can you host Groomapalooza sometime?

    • Reverend says:


      I have been dreaming of an event here in Trento, a bit on the other side of the world, but I have a feeling those who can get here will not want to leave. Which is part of my plan! I think Groomapalooza might scare them away, so my idea is Edupaloozapunk 🙂

  4. I was probably working in a Kansas hay field this summer when this C64-yourself Daily Create hit. A summer spent mostly away from computers, working with my hands and moving my body around was just what the doctor ordered. I am just now getting back to my regular school and work routine, and checking out what I’ve been missing in DS106.

    I think your experience of moving away to another country must be similar to my summer retreats to the farm. Sometimes you really need a complete change of scenery, a new way of looking at life to really appreciate the life you have. Best wishes Jim!

    • Reverend says:

      Thanks Bill,

      I have to say it has been fun, and like you said what the doctor ordered. I feel a tab bit more removed from the online world and that is not a bad thing for my psyche right now. That said, I still love the bava and ds106 🙂

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