In June this year in Seattle a small group of hardcore long-time Commodore fans descended upon the Living Computer Museum
. It's a really neat place filled with retro computing goodness where there was small “show” called the PaCommEx 2017. Since I live nearby and am a member of the museum, going to the event was a no-brainer as my weekend plans were flexible.
When I got there, not knowing the event agenda and schedule, I arrived during the tail end of a small panel led by the the two original members of Dr Evil Laboratories: a small hardware/software company based out of Kirkland, WA, that made the SID Symphony, SwiftLink-232, and other things. The company lasted for exactly five years from 1987-1991. If you’re interested in the history, you can read about it here
In any case, there were about 20 people sitting in a presentation room listening. I didn’t want to interrupt, so I stood in the doorway to catch the end. Some lucky kid (maybe 20 years old?) won the door prize: a boxed C64. And he was so stoked! That made my heart sing a bit. After it was over everyone filtered out and walked over to two long tables
that had C64s and Amigas on them. I talked to a few of the guys who owned the machines about this and that - it was a lot of fun to “talk shop” like that in person with real people! I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. I could tell we were excited just talking about this machine and that upgrade, etc.
I also met a very nice man named Robert Bernardo who, from what I can tell, is one of the longest running non-stop C64/Commodore fans I’ve ever met. He’s the president of FCUG
– Fresno Commodore Users Group - which is still an active user group! He drove all the way from Fresno, with a ton of hardware, just to attend this small event. I was kind of blown away: that's over 900 miles by car!
I just loved it all. I wish we had an active user group in Seattle… Maybe some day I can cobble one together if enough folks emerge and show an interest. In any case, Robert showed me some of his PSUs that he got from the legendary Ray Carlsen
, a friend of his whom I’ve since chatted with online and bought my own replacement PSUs that he hand-made (more on that later).
In any case, it was eventually time for me to gather up my family at the museum and leave for the evening so I said my good-byes to the few guys I met.
I’ve since been in contact with Robert and, after talking it over, he has been gracious enough to let me participate next year at PacCommEx 2018 as an exhibitor. I’ll set up my own table with at least
3 machines: 2 Amigas and 1 C64. I’m going to do my best to see if I can find others that live in the area between now and then (I’ve got a year) to bring their Commodore goodies and memories and make next year’s show bigger and better. It was kind of small, to be honest, and I just know we could expand this sucker with a little effort.
Plus, hopefully next year Alterus will be able to join like he'd originally planned, and maybe even Robdaemon!
You never know. I'll be there for sure.
My next event will be the Retro Gaming Expo
in Portland, OR, in October. What Commodore or retro-computing events are you planning to attend this year?