I was fiddling around this morning checking in on some morning posts. I went to my favorite photoblog on wordpress. Now, I am NOT a photographer. At all. It is not one of my talents, so I go to this blog often like a stupid person who only reads magazines – because I like the pretty pictures.
I’ll include a link to the site below because the stuff on it is quite good and if you haven’t seen the “dogs swimming” pics, you haven’t lived. This particular morning I read a new product review on the blog about a new type of camera. Now, again, I’m not a photographer and wouldn’t know the back end of an SLR camera if it smacked me on the behind, like I said – I go for the pictures – but, this new camera review caught my interest somehow. It’s made from something called “light field” technology. The blogger believes it could replace the digital camera. I’d explain the details of this technology, but the photoblog does it better and explaining how a picture prints on film or a memory card – to me – has the high intellectual difficulty of explaining string theory to a classroom full of people with brain injuries. So, I won’t try. Plus, I just like to think of photos as magic. Like a child. I like to think of the tv that way too. And the automobile and the computer. Just work, is what I always think. I don’t want to know how you work, just do.
My college experience happened just before – like a nanosecond before – the internet boom. In fact, in college, I had this computerized word processor. It was top of the line at the time and it was basically a typewriter connected to a computer screen. That was 1995. Then, literally, it felt like I stepped out of college and computers were everywhere. Computers and emails and then eventually blogs. This is such a strange experience it’s almost hard to articulate. I often feel as if I were a student who had saved up during her college years for her first horse and buggy. Little does she know that her first horse and buggy will be the last horse and buggy on earth. She saddles him up, attaches the wagon, and maneuvers the old girl out of the stable. Once she hits the street, she immediately realizes the horrible tragedy of being born at the wrong time. Her beautiful horse finds itself neighing in terror against an onslaught of automobiles flying down the dirt road. Our hero does everything she can to save Seabiscuit from getting turned into mince meat by some d*ck named Ford. But, it is too late. So, our hero goes off into the woods, shoots Seabiscuit, and cries. This is what computers can feel like for me.
For the most part, I’m happy that I didn’t grow up with the technology of today as the backdrop for my childhood. I think my generation will be the last one to see the benefit of a tech-free childhood with any kind of clear perspective. After we are gone, all is lost. The cyberbullying is out of control now and may only get worse. The texting and twittering and social media rampage has lost its marbles. And for me specifically, well, there were a lot of things that I created during my early/ learning years that I am very happy are NOT on the internet. For example, there’s that video short of a hysterectomy operation that I set to Indigo Girls music from back in college. (Not kidding!!) I’m very happy that doesn’t exist on vimeo somewhere. Some memories are best set in the back of our minds – far, far, away where they can be erased or changed for that matter. Kids today don’t have that option.
However, more often than not, I look at today’s children with a little bit of awe and lots of envy. What goes through my head is, “No, feckin’ way…I would’ve LOVED to have played with that.” I’d like to talk about some of these technical delights that Little Sweet Mother missed. Maybe you missed them too. When I see a lot of these items the Little Sweet Mother in me turns three shades of green and throws a quiet tantrum. Please feel free to jerk about with me. (Ew.)
Freckin’ sneakers with the wheels
There are sneakers now with hidden fecken’ roller skates in them! I don’t know if you’ve seen these, but they walk like a sneaker and roll like a barrel. They are freckin’ retardedly awesome. When I first saw them, I thought I was experiencing an involuntary acid trip because all the children at my local mall seemed to be gliding around me like angels – as if they’ve always done that, as if I were the idiot. From what I can discern only a child can make the wheels spontaneously drop from the wheel bed – previously known as your ankle – to turn them into skates. They are balls-awesome, they are so good.
Freckin’ sneakers that light up
There are children running around with the entire lighting team from Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” video in the sole of their sneakers. Meaning, the soles of their sneakers light up at whim – different colors, at different times, with each new step. They are freckin’ cool and bring out the child in me, but not so much that I’m not grateful for the fact that they don’t also make noise. My inner child is alive enough to be enraptured by the lights, but mature enough to realize beeping children would be a bad thing. Finally, some toy designers got that right. Someone explain it to the people at Gameboy. Or at the very least, station a Gameboy representative at every maternity ward to show parents how to turn the sound off before their child gains control of their thumbs. The world will thank you.
TELEVISION SCREENS BUILT INTO THE BACK SEATS OF CARS!!!!
Are you freckin’ kidding me? My dad – like most dads – was a cheap dad. So, our family vacations consisted of piling into the family car and driving the – oh – 20 hours or so up to beautiful Canada from New York. I’ve seen all of Nova Scotia, PEI, Montreal, Quebec, Niagara Falls, and a little out of the way place called – St. Antoine de Tilly. I’ve seen A LOT of the east coast of Canada and seeing it was my prize BECAUSE THE DRIVE WAS CHILDHOOD HELL. There are only so many coloring books to captivate ones interest before you start shoving crayons into your brother’s different orifices just to amuse yourself. But, not today’s children. Oh, no. These little bestards get to watch Disney movie marathons as if they were Tom Hanks in Big and flying first class on Spoiled Mini-Traveler Airlines. It is not freckin’ fair.
“Okay, Janey, time for your chores. So, put the robot-vacuum down on the carpet, while it takes care of the living room, and watch to make sure it doesn’t get stuck in the corners.” DAMN YOU, FRECKIN’ JANEY. DAMN YOU!!
Electric Stand Up Scooters
Arms folded, standing right beside the little girl inside of me, is a little boy and he wanted one of these. You plug the damn thing in to charge it, then you take it out of the wall, click up the handle bars, place it on the pavement and go – up to speeds of about 8-10 mph. Okay, full disclosure – I actually did have one of these. I bought it from a child and I used it to zip around Manhattan from gig to gig. I’d wear sneakers, throw my pumps in the backpack, zip down the side streets to the show, fold up the scooter upon arrival, and flip on my heels. I’m not kidding. It was tremendous. There’s nothing like zipping down a New York city street when the trees have turned their autumn colors. The wind whips through your 30 year old hair while the child inside of you screams out in glee. I loved this goddern thing. Loved it. My only complaint was that the charge went out too fast. I eventually sold it because the charge never lasted long enough, so I’d end up driving it two blocks, only to have to fold up the clunker, and carry it for ten more. It was a major buzzkill. A buzzkill that only a children’s scooter perched on the edge of technology can give you.
My guess is that today’s scooters for kids hold a far better charge.
Last night, wifesy’s dad mentioned that they had a hot-tub 20 years ago. He got rid of the hot-tub because it was too much work. TOO MUCH WORK! A HOT-TUB. That is the antithesis of the hot-tub’s essence. A hot-tub is supposed to be for relaxing, the delivery system for the anti-work! And yet, wifesy-dad said he was always having to regulate the chemicals in the goddamn thing, work ‘em out, until they were just right, it was a pain in the arse. My guess is that he bought the damn hot-tub too early in the lifecycle of hot-tubs. There is probably now a hot-tub version where a little electronical thingie, named Marvin, glides on the surface of the water, while you sleep and regulates the chemicals. I’m sure of that just as I’m sure that today’s child has an easy-charge scooter. He’ll jump from that right on to tomorrow’s hoverboard without missing a beat. I’ll be an old lady by then, petting the head of dead Seabiscuit, while I look at my closet full of broken typewriters, but even still, I can’t wait to see that hoverboard. Maybe my grandkid will even let me ride it. Hopefully, no one will film it and put it up on vimeo, but I can’t guarantee it. And if you ever see the video, “Grandma Rides a Hoverboard” go viral – damn it – you’ll know that’s me.
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