Friday, January 09, 2009

Making it real

We've had our share of hiccups getting our internet working here in Small Town. At one point last week, we couldn't get anything to connect - not the desktop nor two laptops. Frustrated does not begin to describe how Dennis (who works from home and supports a family of seven by being on the internet all day) was feeling.

I knew he'd been on the phone with technical support for a long time one morning, well before the kids had gotten up. Being the wise woman that I am, I just offered him coffee, then stayed out of the way. At one point I couldn't avoid walking into the living room, though, and was surprised at an unusual sight for our house in the early morning: the TV was on.

I didn't have to ask him whether we had internet or not. His laptop was beside him on the floor. His glum face showed the battle scars of cyber warfare. He didn't even look up at me as he said drily, "I forgot that this is how we used to get our news."

Yep. A real person. Talking. Commercials. Waiting for the weather report! Before kids - which was before internet - we even used to read an actual PAPER. Pay bills by mailing a check in an envelope with a stamp. Take pictures and actually get them printed. Write letters to people on paper that they could hold in their hands, read again and again, and maybe even put in their sock drawer.

Those were the days!

My friend Jenn sent me an interesting article written by a young man who bemoans the loss of real toys that kids used to play with. Now it's all iPods, video games, and a MySpace page that gets changed daily. He says,
The world of the internet and virtual reality demands higher expectations out of kids at ages that once required only a basic piece of molded plastic to keep them pleasantly distracted. They demand more because they instinctively distrust and are underwhelmed by the invisible world that they are being forced to grow up (quickly) into.
If kids put as much time into a scrapbook as they do changing their layout and uploading pictures, they might have something permanent to remember their growing up years by. He concludes the article by telling parents to get off the Wii (OUCH), go buy a REAL ball and glove, and go play catch with your kid.

This morning's Fox News SciTech headline (Powerful Solar Storm Could Shut Down U.S. for Months) made me think about this some more. One solar storm could cause a "cascade of failures" that could literally cripple our modern society. Everything from electricity to phone service, to potable water, to food and medicines. Halted.

I'm not worried about that right now, although that reminds me that I want to get moving on my vegetable garden. And I think there might be an old well on my property...

In the olden days, people would say, "What would you save out of your house in case of fire?" Wedding photos, journals, special mementoes, perhaps.

Now I suppose the question is, "What would you do if you knew your computer and the internet were going to be permanently fried?"

Well, I'd have to start watching the news, or (gasp!) start reading the paper again, I suppose. I'd miss the convenience of online bill-pay, and I'd miss being able to connect with my friends and family with a few keystrokes.

But most of all, I'd miss my digital photos, my journal (written in Word and stored on my computer), and my "other journal": my blog.

I've got about half of my blog downloaded, but hundreds of journal entries and literally thousands of photos that have never been printed.

The next major Sun storm is expected in 2012. I suppose I'd better get started making it real.


E. Tyler Rowan said...

Are you still using blurb to download your blog? I would like to get my blog saved and printed for my kids and grandkids, too, but was pondering the "how"?

More Than Words said...

That was a great post!! So very true!!!!!!

My husband told my oldest son that if he's going to be playing video games, he HAS to go running with him twice a week!!

Katherine@Raising Five said...

I used a beta-version of Blurb to download my 2006 and 2007 blog posts.

I mostly wanted to preserve my blog as a journal. Since I have lots of pictures, it wasn't the easiest to work with (you had to put pics in preformatted pages - so I didn't always like how each page turned out, and it was time-consuming to reformat each post into their formats). Overall it gets the job done, though. I think there is a newer version out, so maybe it is easier now.

If anyone's used anything else, I'd love to hear about it!

Mothership said...

I lost my hard drive when my baby was 18 months old. I lost about 80% of the pictures of her first 18 months of life. I cried for two days. Now, I print favorites quickly and backup in different formats all others.

I correspond with my Grandma through the mail and LOVE those letters. There is something about touching the paper, isn't there?

Ginger said...

Remember the days of not knowing what was on a roll of film, and the built up anticipation of finding out what was on it when you picked up your photos??? *sigh*