1. Do you remember when you saw your first computer? When did you actually use one? What about having your own? Do you own a laptop? (PC or Mac?) Have you gone wireless at home yet?
I first used a computer in 7th grade. We had a couple of Tandys (trs80s) with monochrome monitors, hooked up to cassette players in our “gifted” classroom. I played haunted house on these and programmed in BASIC. We also had an Apple. I’m not sure which model, but it was exciting because it was color. When I went off to college, my dad bought me an IBM clone. It had no hard drive. Instead I loaded programs using 5 1/4″ floppies. I’ve pretty much continued to upgrade throughout my life. I don’t have a laptop of my own, but have the use of one through the school. I think my next computer will be an Apple laptop. We are completely wireless at home. In fact, we just upgraded our wireless network.
2. When did you first go online and/or use email? Who did you email back then? How did the internet change your life? When did you discover blogging? What about your home internet connection – is it dial-up, DSL, cable?
I first went online in 1990 when I went to graduate school. I basically only emailed my fellow grad students. The big thing for me then was usenet. I was big into several newsgroups, one for the Simpsons and one for pinball among a few others. The internet has completely changed my life. In fact, that’s what I wrote about for my “She’s Such a Geek” essay (rejected, but I’m thinking about posting it here). I heard about blogging in 2001 and read the Invisible Adjunct and jill/txt. I didn’t start blogging myself until 2004. We’ve had broadband internet access since you could have broadband, mostly because of Mr. Geeky’s work.
3. Do you remember your first VCR? What about a video camera (there were some bulky ones back in the 80s and 90s) and home videos?
I remember my dad bought a VCR for us some time in the 80s, probably 82 or 83. We didn’t have a video camera though. Mr. Geeky and I got one when we got married.
4. When did you switch from VCR to DVD? How did it change your video viewing experience? Do you use TiVo or any such “contraption” to tape TV shows? Do you use Netflix or some other internet-based DVD “renting” service?
For Valentine’s day in 95, I got Mr. Geeky a DVD player. That didn’t change us that much, mainly because we were a little ahead of the curve. There weren’t that many DVDs out to watch. Tivo really changed the way we watch tv. We got one in 2002 for Mr. Geeky’s birthday. At first I was skeptical, but now I don’t know how we lived without it. And now that it does podcasts, I love it even more. We also have netflix, but don’t use as much as we probably could.
5. What about music? Did you enjoy listening favorite music in Long Plays or did you prefer cassette tapes? When did you buy your fist CD player and switched to CDs? Did you abandon them (and turned to downloaded music) for MP3 players or Ipods or do you still buy CDs? (I’m not going to ask or comment about “illegal” music activities in the internet, even though it was an exciting innovation, lest one of us gets arrested for it
I usually went for whole albums, getting attached to artists rather than individual songs. I got a CD player when I went off to college. When I got my iPod a couple of years ago, I imported all my CDs and I’ve sold off a lot of them. I’m not happy with the DRM stuff that’s being incorporated to downloaded music, but I do like purchasing music this way.
6. Do you own and use a cell phone? Do you think it’s useful or just annoying?(Did you always have a telephone in your house growing up? Did you have a phone in your own room?)
Yes, I own a smartphone. I like having a cellphone even though not that many people call me on it.
7. When did you first buy a digital camera? What kind was it (3.2, 4.0, 5.0 mega-pixels or better)? Did you start taking more pictures or were you a photo aficionado before then? What about a digital video camera?
We got our first digital camera when Mr. Geeky got his Ph.D. (do you see a trend?). I got him a new one for Christmas last year. We got ourselves a digital video camera last year also. I enjoy taking digital still photos more than video although I want to do some experimenting with video blogging in the next few months. I’d like to get my own digital still camera, like an ELF or something. Something I can keep in my pocket. There’ve been a lot of times when I’ve wanted to snap a quick picture.
8. What about televisions? Have you already embraced the new technologies, such as HDTV, plasma, and flat screen? (On the other hand, you wouldn’t remember black & white TVs, would you?)
Here’s where we are technologically lacking. We have a 15-year-old tv. We’ve been talking for years about replacing it. It’s only just now getting anywhere near our price range.
I think I carry around a piece, a picture, a feeling of every place I’ve lived. They become a part of me and a part of the places I move to. People are always a component of that feeling and there are people I carry with me too.
This place and its people have been a large part of my life. Walking around, I remember how happy I was here. Here, I felt supported and appreciated. I remember studying for master’s exams in the coffee shop. I was pregnant and had to settle for decaf coffee and water while my friends drank beer and espresso (such is the nature of exams). I remember how we assigned ourselves to a period of literature. I took medieval and renaissance. I made it my goal to connect everything to Gawain and the Green Night. I remember laughing over Tom Jones and being frustrated by Gravity’s Rainbow. I remember barbecues with my friends Sally and Doug and their kids. Yesterday, I walked the same route I used to take to and from work every day. I can remember breathing in the fresh air, admiring people’s quirky gardens and wondering when the abandoned gas station had its heyday. Walking past the park I used to live next to, I remember taking my kids there, watching my daughter’s first trip down a slide, watching my son play catch with my husband. I remember birthday parties here. I remember being able to come here just to get out of the house and sitting on a bench to read while Geeky Boy played in the sandbox. In the house we lived in, once owned by the football coach, we had friends over to play games, to drink wine and beer, to talk about politics and work. In the back yard, a grassy slope into the woods, we put up our first swingset. In the street in front of our house, Geeky Boy rode a bike and a skateboard for the first time.
In school, I felt successful. I had a cohort of friends who were serious about the work, but also able to let their hair down once in a while. We shared our triumphs and our difficulties with our research and our teaching. Much of what I know about teaching and much of what inspires me about teaching comes from this place, especially from my current advisor and the atmosphere he created for us as graduate students. He taught us well. He taught us to take teaching seriously and to consider carefully how we approach what we do in the classroom. My favorite phrase that he uses is “guardedly optimistic” and I think there are so many ways in which I approach my work according to that phrase. It’s good to be optimistic, but one must always be aware that there are pitfalls in everything. Having lunch with him and then coffee with another committe member yesterday reminded me of what I like so much about the faculty here. They push you, but in a supportive way. They ask pointed questions, but only so that you can think about where to go next and the best way to present your ideas. It’s not a test; it’s a conversation.
Though I am happy where I am now and have developed the kind of support I had here, I see now why leaving here was so hard on me. It really felt like home. I felt embedded and invested here in a way that I hadn’t felt at any other place. Now I feel comfortable carrying the image and feeling of this place with me. It is a connection I will always have.
When I travel, I watch people. I try to figure out who people are and why they’re traveling. I don’t actually speak to people, though, because that might destroy the image I create in my head.
On my plane, there were two extremely well-dressed women, one a little older than me and one about 55 or so. They were calm and poised. I assume they were business women, perhaps connected to WalMart in some way (I’m in the land of WalMart). There was also a 30ish couple with two young children. I immediately pegged them as academics. And I was right. I overheard the woman tell someone they were visiting family but that her husband was a professor on the east coast. Also, there were two youngish couples, one possibly not quite 30 and another mid30s (how old do I feel that I thought these couples were young!). They were stylish, seemingly most interested in looking good. I imagined they had beautiful houses with well manicured lawns. There were also two men in the 50s or early 60s, smartly dressed in slacks and sweaters and really nice shoes. Their hair was neatly cut. I imagined they played golf and worked only 3 or 4 days a week. They had money.
I wonder what people peg me as.
It’s interesting to see land between stuff. I’m so used to every square inch being taken up with development.
I shouldn’t have written that post about being stuck in Chicago. Because I was stuck in Chicago again. We got on the plane. They declared it broken, but fixable. Then they declared it fixed but unable to fly because the plane had been broken in the same way before. So we got off the plane. And waited. And waited. And waited. 3 hours later, we finally got on another plane.
And now, a long cab ride and a french dip later, here I am with free internets. Yay! I have observations, but they’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Sleepless in Seattle is on (who can resist Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks?) And I have only a few pages left of Assassination Vacation. It’s really good. More on that later too.
Traveling and hanging out in airports and train stations is such a weird thing. I really think Bitch, Ph.D. is on to something with her idea that we should focus on public transportation as a way to solve all kinds of other problems. One is forced into close contact with all kinds of people you wouldn’t normally be. Some of those people are, unfortunately, annoying. Why, why do people talk really loudly on their cell phones about their personal lives? I mean, I can understand checking in with relatives and friends who might be meeting you at your destination, but going on and on about your life while the rest of us are forced to listen to you–sheesh. The woman behind me on the plane was doing this and she was talking about something in Philly and couldn’t remember something about it. The girl next to me turned around and answered her question. As if that’s not hint enough that her conversation was a little loud. But no, it went on for a while longer. I miss my iPod.
I was thinking as I was landing that the last time I was in Chicago was on my way to Philly to live there. But then as I was wandering the corridors, I realized I’d been here shortly after we moved, on my to Grad School City and I think I’ve passed through before not that long ago. My trip on my way to Philly was memorable because I was stuck here for about 20 hours. I had flown into O’Hare from London after spending 4 weeks there. Mr. Geeky had arranged all of our stuff to be moved to Philly, spent a couple of weeks there getting somewhat settled and then drove back to Indianapolis to meet me and we were all planning to drive to Philly. I took a shuttle from O’Hare to Midway. Between the time I got to Midway and my flight, a huge thunderstorm hit that affected flights into and out of the airport. I had arrived around noon. I was supposed to leave around 5:00. I didn’t leave until midnight. And there was the jet lag. Perhaps that was an omen. I felt kind of out of sorts for about a year after we arrived.
At any rate, here I am, waiting to fly into grad school city. I’ve got plans galore with friends galore and I’m really looking forward to it. There will be pictures, of course.
I know no one asked for this and I’m not writing anything myself, just pointing you to others who are doing a bang-up job.
Phantom does a great analysis of the Act passed by South Dakota. There’s humor in it, but you can definitely “hear” the anger, too. I’m with you Phantom.
Elise has a roundup of lots of others writing about all that’s going on on the anti-choice front.
I’m working on a technology post, but wanted to do a short kid post. Around here, we’re big Mythbusters fans. We have a long tradition in our house of researching urban myths. Geeky Boy gained fame in his school for speaking up when a teacher tried to foist off an urban legend as true. She was doing it on purpose to get the kids to learn to question things and Geeky Boy was the only one who spoke up. That’s my boy!
So tonight, I let him stay up a little past his bedtime to watch the rest of a Mythbusters episode. Afterwards, I settled into bed with the laptop and Geeky Boy, I thought, was settled into his own bed. Then I heard him galloping down the stairs. He zipped into my room, into the bathroom.
“Geeky Boy,” I said, “Are you okay?” I was thinking he might be coming down with the stomach flu or something.
“Yeah,” he said, poking his head around the corner, “I’m doing an experiment.”
Then he came completely out of the bathroom, put his hands on his hips and said, “I’m becoming a Junior Mythbuster.”
There are two paper boats in my sink, one made out of regular typing paper and one made out of construction paper. He’s testing to see which one sinks first. He thinks it’ll be the regular paper one. What do you think?
Update: The typing paper boat sunk first. It was completely underwater this morning while the construction paper boat was still afloat.
I have a lot on my mind lately, but no time to post until later. Maybe you can vote on what you’d like to hear about.
- My kids–thoughtful stuff, not funny.
- My mother–actual positive stuff.
- Abortion–back alley, here we come.
- Technology–where we’re headed.