Thursday, May 13, 2010

Times They Are a-Changin!

As I get older (and better) I try not to be one of those "in my day" guys I hated dealing with when I was a kid. But I am, at least to a degree. It's unavoidable. Things change so quickly. I'm totally cool with that and am adaptive enough that I can roll with the changing tide in most cases. However, some things I simply don't get, can't accept, or make me long for the way things were. So, here is another list (I know I'm a one trick pony but hey, people dig lists) of how things have changed, the good, the bad, and the ugly. As always this is from MY standpoint and how they effect MY life, so there.

1) I want my MTV! Gosh, remember when a band wasn't a band until they had a video on MTV? Now the once great channel is a hodge podge of bad reality tv with nary an extended block of videos in sight.

2) There isn't a day goes by I don't utilize the internet for one reason or another. Truly one of the life changing developments over the past 15 years. That said I think it is the single worst thing to happen to kids. I love youtube, facebook, myspace, online games etc but my mother would have kicked our lazy asses out the door before she'd let us sit huddled around a computer looking for videos of dancing cats, skaters getting their nuts crushed and the like

3) Phone tag? What's that. Gone are the days of "ok, call so and so then call me back". Three way calling had it's time and has passed. The idea I can make plans with everyone involved via text, email, tweet, or Facebook message all from my convenience of my cell phone, without having to utter a word, is pure bliss

4) OK, not on the same level as the rest of this stuff but who was the poindexter who thought the idea of announcing bus stops on external speakers? Internal? Sure. It's awesome to know when you're on the bus to know which stop is next...but external? The people at the stop don't need to know what f'n stop they're at they just need to know where to get off. The only possible reason for external speakers is to ruin any semblance of Rich sleeping in as he loves hearing "77 Mass Ave Harvard Station blasted at 10,000 decibels every friggin morning. OK, had to get that out of my system

5) The number one movie of all time, Avatar, is available on DVD or Blu-Ray about 2 weeks after it left theaters. Gone are the days of anticipating the arrival the summer blockbusters to be available on video nearly a year after their theatrical run. Missed a big movie? Just wait a few weeks and watch it in the comfort of your own home. I'm on the fence on this one as I know a lot of people that can't get out to the movies for one reason or another so this is a big win. Me? I love the whole going to the movies thing and watching movies at home is no substitute.

6) On a similar note with all the multiplexes out there we are force fed 10 new movies every damned week. The results are movies that should never had been made, been made for TV or gone direct to, DVD...urm, Blu-Ray. It's a little depressing to know if a movie like Star Wars came out today it would be #1 for about 2 weeks, out of the top 10 in 6 weeks and available for purchase in 3 months

7) Some time in the past 15 years suburban America has become the most dangerous place on Earth. I mean, it has to be because every time I ask why (insert parental type) is driving the kids everywhere I'm told that it's a different world then when we were kids. BULLSHIT! It's the same world. Just as safe and just as dangerous as when we were kids. The problem is we hear a lot more of the bad stuff that goes on now then when we were kids and as a result children are overprotected. My parents, to a point (and maybe a fault) trusted me. "Ma, I'm taking the bus to Harvard Square by myself after my last 8th grade class" . "ok, be home by dinner". There was no 50 questions, no dropping off and picking up, no 100 check in texts. It was a little taste of freedom that, I'm afraid, is lost on the current generation. Before all you parents get pissed off, I don't know how I'd be if I had kids, so save your breath

8) Vinyl gave way to tape, tape gave way to CD, CD gave way to MP3. Are we better off now? Yes...and no. I love the convenience of MP3 and other digital files and the fact I can carry thousands of songs with me on my Ipod, phone and other digital devices. I find the quality just ok but I felt the same way about CD's. While CD's were able to take full advantage of digital capabilities for multi-speaker systems the truth was the sound quality wasn't as rich as vinyl...or even tape. My only real negative about MP3 is the whole world now walks around with their ear buds in oblivious to the world around them. Me, I still like taking in the whole world of activities going on around me. Call it voyeuristic but I find people a million times more interesting then music

9) I love my lap top...all four of them. I love the mobility, entertainment and convenience they bring me at home or on the road. Having said that, I don't understand the idea of going to a public place to hang out in a crowd and spend the whole time on my laptop. Oh, I understand the whole free WiFi thing but you can get that at the library. Whats the thrill of sitting in a crowded coffee house or bar getting jacked on caffeine or well lathered with alcohol only to sit there by yourself tapping away at your keyboard. I think it's a safety blanket as people fear going out alone but if it looks like they're working it's ok. Here's an idea. Find a friendly looking bar or coffee shop, sit down and, I dunno, strike up a conversation?

10) Then we come to what I call textus interuptus. Or being Blackberried. Or whatever else you want to call it. When was the last time you went out with a group and someone, maybe everyone, mid-conversation, pulls out their phone to check and/or answer a text, email, or other message. AND they think nothing of it. There is nothing more annoying then someone "uh huh'ing" you while paying attention only to their phone. Jerry Seinfeld put it best when he said why is talking to someone while reading your messages ok but talking to someone with a newspaper in front of your face not? The art of interpersonal communication between people who are physically in the same location has been lost to the practice of communicating with those who are not present and, honestly, that's a damned shame

11) I don't think outside of cousins, etc I knew anyone outside of my hometown until high school and more likely college. It was a cozy, sheltered world. Now days between social networks, private schools, elite sports teams, and even Xbox 360 children are opened to a whole, huge world at an early age. I think, dangerous predators aside, this is a positive thing

12) Privacy is officially a thing of the past and, frighteningly, it's mostly voluntary. We are obsessed letting people know where we are and what we're doing all the time. It falls somewhere between self importance, narcissism, and boredom. Stop and thing how many times a day you Tweet or update Facebook or "check in" with whomever. I'm just as guilty. However, just so you feeling aren't hurt, the odds are pretty good if I'm out and about on my day off I'm most likely screening your call. Don't take it personally. Sometimes it's just nice to be "off the grid"

And some quick hits;
  • Resume's, once an art form unto itself, are now emailed
  • Jobs are offered and found on what breaks down to internet bulletin boards
  • People use credit cards for purchases below $5
  • Video games are rarely played in the arcade anymore but on the computer, cell phone, or $500 console for literally hours on end
  • Organic, sustainable, recyclable and cage free have replaced whole, skim, and diet in the lexicon of choices we need to make at the supermarket
  • Hair, except that on the top of one's head (for those that are lucky enough to still have it), is apparently evil as every single bit of it must be shaved, tweezed, waxed, or in some other way be removed
  • On the same note, bald is beautiful and gray is okay which for those who like to let nature take it's rightful path is a great thing
All right, that's enough for now. I need to walk home uphill both ways in the snow so I can watch one of 7 channels on my black and white tv

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