Monday, March 06, 2006

Domo Arigato, Not Miss Roboto

I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I love the concept of technology. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy modern, potentially life-saving technological breakthroughs? And who couldn’t use a new architectural fancy machine? (Other than Ted Kaczynski, of course.)

It’s the technology that seems to hate me.

This dysfunctional relationship began in the mid-eighties, when my sixth grade teacher wheeled our school’s first Apple computer into the building. We’d eagerly wait our turn to go on the computer, and when our magical day finally arrived, we’d race into the hallway in pairs to play Oregon Trail, creating characters named Farts McGinty that always died of dysentery or cholera. Oh, the electric joy! It was like directing our own reality series, except with covered wagons and crude, pixilated death.

When my friend Pam’s family bought a Commodore 64, I was so jealous I practically melted. We logged HOURS playing exciting, high-tech games like Winter Games and ... Summer Games. Could there BE a better way to rot our brains and pursue a sedentary lifestyle in between imaginary make-out sessions with Ralph Macchio?

But it soon became clear that this wondrous pastime also had a dark side, which I discovered when Super Mario Brothers proved more entertaining to an early boyfriend of mine than, well, me. I parlayed this early discovery into my first major technological purchase in 1993: a Sega Genesis complete with Sonic the Hedgehog. At the time, it seemed as essential an accessory to my new dorm room as shower shoes and the requisite John Belushi “College” poster. Plus, I figured it would be a great way to attract guys. Turned out that tight tops and binge drinking worked much better, and without the eyestrain. Luckily, my roommate’s creepy boyfriend bought it from me when I lost interest.

Fast-forward a few years and my new boss has just purchased Palm Pilots for everyone. Wheee! Christmas in October, right? Wrong. Not only was my new PDA the size of a toaster; whenever I turned it on at meetings, it emitted a high-frequency squeal that caused my coworkers’ ears to bleed and any dog within a ten-mile radius to explode. I’m not all that partial to dogs exploding, so I put the ixnay on the PDA.

I received my first cell phone as a gift in 1997. It was larger than a double bed and it came with its own wheeled cart for portability. I bought another phone in 2002, but after they changed my minute re-up procedures and I couldn’t figure them out, I tossed it into a bag of crap in the shed. I think the only people who don’t have cell phones at this point are me, my husband, and the Amish. But what’s that you say? Even the Amish have cell phones? That are nestled in Amish hand-tooled leather phone holsters?

I have hit a new Luddite Low, and you are all here to witness it.

But the lure of modernity is too strong to deny. Because I’m currently considering purchasing an iPod and a new cell phone. But I’m in this unpleasant holding pattern of wanting these items yet hemming & hawing until the the cost comes down and the technology improves (yet again). After all, the computer we bought last fall was outdated by the time we got the box to the car.

Plus, my J* wants other new technology-related purchases. A large complicated television. More personal computing accessories. An Xbox 360. Even a refrigerator. Can’t he see how well the time-honored method of salting our food and dumping it in a dank hole in the ground has been working? It’s winter for cryin’ out loud! You work with what you have.

If you need me, I’ll be hurriedly rendering tallow for my soap and candles before it gets dark.

*75% of all bloggers are married to or dating a J. Also, thanks to everyone who voted for or tried to vote for me (damn technology!) in the MKE Online blog contest. Stickers for everyone!


  1. Anonymous11:54 PM

    hehe Ok I am not Amish, but we do not have a cell phone either! ACK! I am married to a J too!! This is crazy cosmic blogness I am so glad you popped by my blog!!! Get the Ipod, I can't live without mine!! Love it!

  2. Anonymous12:25 AM

    Loved the 80's flashback. Haven't thought about Ralph Macchio in yeeeears!! Oh & I voted 3 times, w/each of my yahoo emails. Take that,!!

  3. Ooooh yes. You and I are obviously the same age. You got me all atwitter with Oregon Trail. That game rocked! Trading everything for food was my favorite tactic - an early sign of an eating disorder.

    Commodore 64 - I thought my best friend was the luckiest girl on earth to have such a rich dad.

    Mario. Ah yes. Many a summer was spent chasing the notorious mushroom.

    Go with the Ipod Jess. You won't regret it. I started cleaning my house once I realized I could LISTEN TO MUSIC COMING FROM MY ARM while I vacuumed.

  4. Anonymous1:59 AM

    Sometimes I wonder how mankind was able to survive without computers and cell phones...

  5. I remember playing Oregon Trail in HIGH SCHOOL - gawd I feel old.. LOL

    I also remember when Pong came out and it was the big thing!

    I'm a gadget junkie - this year alone I've bought a new cellphone (pink razr), iPod nano, laptop, and a digital camera. Sad thing is that they will all be obsolete in about 6 months when the latest and greatest and better come out.

  6. Anonymous6:42 AM

    Girl, you need to buy it while's it's hot.

    AND, like Aimee, and I'm total nerd (in a good way) and did the same.

    And then I nominated MOM-101 only to realize you had to live in Milwaukee.

    It was late - I'm an idiot.

  7. I agree with the other ladies, an iPod is necessary. Even if you get an older version it still holds a bazillion songs. If you wait for a newer version you'll get, what, an iPod that will hold 2 bazillion songs that you can permanently glue to your fingernail? That sounds kinda cool, actually!
    Loved your blog, thanks for stopping by mine.

  8. HA! My agent took an Amish reference out of my manuscript and wrote, "everyone picks on the pooor Amish."
    Well poopie on her.

    And Nate is going to be so pissed you stole his Commodore 64 reference. That seems to be the joke he works into prety much every zinger these days. I won't tell if you don't.

  9. Anonymous9:09 AM

    I try the technology, I do, but then I find I can't get into it. I got a Palm Pilot for work and did I ever use it? Noooo. My husband bought me a lovely iPod, did I ever use it? Noooo. Is my cell phone ever used? Not really.

    But my J (yes, you are right that almost all bloggers have an SO named J -- LOL!) is a technology addict. We have the TiVos (2), an HDTV, 3 computers, etc. Sometimes I think if it weren't for him I'd live in a technology-free house, although at this point I'd be very hard pressed to give up my laptop and wireless access. As in, you'd have to pry it from my cold dead hands.

  10. You need to buy a pod, and become one of the pod people. WHen you get one, you won't be able to imagine how you lived without it.

    My brother had one of the first cell phones. You had to have it installed in your car, it was the size of a shoebox and the calls were $4 a minute. Yikes!

  11. I just got my own cell phone -- before that me and my hubby, J (!!!), shared one.

    This J must be a popular person! He/She sure gets around!

  12. Tight tops and binge drinking was what attracted me, too.

  13. I, too, have a J. I also still have my old Commodore somewhere. And my Cave of the Word Wizard floppy disk.

    Load "I like your blog",8,1

  14. Hey, I love the Amish!!! What cracks me up is the amish furniture website. I love that one.

    I'm so with ya on the Oregon trail thing. Remember when you'd shoot a buffalo or something and then your family would have like 600 pounds of meat? Wasn't that a great feeling?

  15. OMG. I RULED Summer Games. I can still hear the music.

  16. Anonymous12:23 PM

    iPod = true love. Really. Me + iPod 4-eva.

    I don't use my cell phone that often, but my husband (J!) is a gadget guy, and for Christmas he bought me a TREO 350. It's a cell/pda/web browser/rocket launcher combined. Well, I'm not sure about that last part, but Jack Bauer *does* save the world regularly with his---so who knows.

  17. Got a PDA for christmas. I realize now it's a glorified list maker and phone book. But I like having games to play when I'm waiting in line at the DMV or something, at least until the trial runs out. I'm too cheap to buy those stupid games! An iPod is definitely my next purchase...

    Jess, how do you live with out a cell phone?????

  18. Anonymous1:02 PM

    Weird. I am married to a Jeff. And I think you are safely out of Amish territory unless you have echewed the zipper and electricity.

  19. I'm married to a tech geek so no matter how MUCH I plead and beg to NOT get something we end up with it any way. IT confuses me and takes me forever to learn and by the time I do, he has bought something new. ~sigh~

    iPod's rock though, that's a definite YES!
    X-Box? Hmmm well, I haven't seen my hubby in about a month because of it, so it could be a good thing for some women. :0)

  20. Yay, stickers! "Oregon Trail" Holy shit. I lived for that game. I think that was the only reason I went to school. No seriously, it was.

  21. Anonymous1:37 PM

    We technically don't have a cell phone, either. Just one of those pre-paid dealies we never, ever use. Until last weekend when I went to Vegas, and it made connecting with my friends (who came into town later) and staying in touch with my husband (who was still at home) so simple. Now I'm wondering about changing my ways...but it'll probably be a few years.

    Oh, that said, you might like this:

    Just read it on Dooce, still had the link on my clipboard, and realized it may appeal to you after today's entry.

  22. virenda - this cracked me up, "so it could be a good thing for some women. :0) "


  23. Anonymous2:18 PM

    I went to school in Amish country. Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster.

    The high point: selling a car to an Amishman. (There's a sect the locals call "half-assed Amish")

  24. Yes the Amish do have cell phones. But they run on wind power.

  25. Anonymous3:55 PM

    WOW! Thank you for the trip down memory lane. Now I feel downright geriatric.

    I remember ordering a coupler modem for my best friend’s TI-99. We took it out of the box, plugged it in and listened to crickets chirp as we realized we had no one to call. Unlike Wargames, the data numbers of the Pentagon weren’t in the Yellow Pages.

    We special ordered the Modem Phone Directory from a local bookstore. But instead of data lines for game companies, it was a directory of gay BBSs.

    Ah, good times.

  26. you so remind me of myself in so many ways! i, too, lust for the new technology, but am waiting for the prices to drop to an all time low. of course i know that will never really happen.
    i'm not dating or married to a J* but i AM a J* :o)
    thanks for stopping by my place. certainly saturday will be the last of this stuff, ya think????

  27. Anonymous7:28 PM

    Ok, now I understand that you have all kinds of technology to consider and discuss and yada yada yada before buying, but I am going to give you the best advice I have ever given another person (except maybe last night when I told my son his tummy would probably stop hurting if he went poop), get a TiVo.

    Get. A. TiVo. TiVo, much like a large, plastic puppy, will love you back. You can ask it to tape everything Ralph Macchio is in!

  28. Yeah, I rocked the C64, where I learned code to make the computer say
    "FUCK YOU" in a huge long scroll.
    10 Goto 20
    20 "Fuck You"
    30 Run

  29. Love the comment..."make-out sessions with Ralph Macchio". I was into Donkey Kong myself.

    Oh and I love my IPOD! Along with Tivo and XM Radio I'm starting to lead a commercial free life. ~aaaahhh~

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  30. Anonymous3:12 AM

    Oh, I had a Commodore 64! Remember Pong?!

    When life was simple, and I didn't need a seven-year-old to teach me how to play a video game.

  31. This cracked me up because I JUST posted about a cell phone debacle.

    You are hilarious! Cool blog. :)

  32. Thanks for taking me back to the 80's. It is my favorite decade. :-)


  33. I hate eleashes (cell phones, crackberries and pagers), but I love my iPod. I don't know how I survived without it.