In the list of credits for where I am today an odd entry stands out - Publisher's Clearinghouse. Now, I'm sure I would have seen my first computer somewhere, but as fate would have it, the first computer I saw was in my Grandfather's junk mail.Paw Paw always entered the PCH sweepstakes and I liked looking through the ads that came with it. I wish I could remember the date, but I remember the day well. It was when I learned the definition of "epiphany" long before I learned the word. I saw a Timex Sinclair 1000, read the description, and knew I had to have one.After pestering my parents to buy me one, I finally ended up with a Commodore VIC-20 for my 10th birthday. My dad worked for AT&T and a friend of his at work recommeded the VIC-20 over the TS1000.I learned to write code on the VIC-20, along with some cool math tricks (polar coordinates were like magic to a 10 year old). I spent many hours reading through the manual, typing in programs, and watching what happened on the TV screen. The programs were crude. Most of them were text based. You could do some graphics, but they were fairly limited. I remember only being able to use one-quarter of the screen for bitmapped graphics and it was limited to black and white.Another limitation was that the VIC-20 had no long-term storage. When the computer was turned off, you lost everything you had typed in. It didn't take long before I was the proud owner of a cassette tape drive.The three core features of computing were there: input, processing, and output. And processing was broken down into data manipulation, branching, and looping. No matter what language I've learned since, it all boils down to the basics.