Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Is It Wrong to Only Want What's Old?

I’m a proud little Luddite.

My apartment is the Home for Wayward Tempermental Electronics, including multiple nonfunctioning CD players, a CB radio, a PlayStation 2, and a 1970s slide projector I use as a bookend. My television is a hand-me-down, and it’s connected to a VCR. Nothing has a remote control.

I wouldn’t even have a computer if my sister hadn’t given me one (an Asus eee, which is actually smaller than the attached CD drive I found for 17 dollars). I had to be dragged screaming and howling from Hotmail to Gmail. I don’t use Google Reader, I don’t even use bookmarks. Instead, I click from blog to blog on a perpetual treasure hunt for new comments.

My CD collection (those iPod things are just a fad!) involves mostly music I loved in college, copied CDs lavished upon me by prior boyfriends, and whatever was on the oldies station when I’d ride along on my dad’s sales trips. I do have two Hold Steady albums, which makes me pretty hip for 2006.

I also like vintage jewelry, alarm clocks with actual bells on them, my mom’s antique chairs, the batiks my parents bought on their honeymoon, and newspaper home delivery. I love etiquette guides from the 1950s and 1960s, which mostly tell me how not to “appear easy” and to interact courteously with “cripples.” I fully intend to host a dinner party where I prepare horrendous retro recipes like Fried Spam with Pineapple. My favorite Muppets are Statler and Waldorf.

So, clearly, I do not embrace novelty. But, what with the whole “having a job” thing, I’ve decided to enter that brave frontier of home Internet access. This has created another one of those situations in which I’m an old lady: I have the exact same conversation over and over.

“How does one get…the Internet? Couldn’t I just attach rabbit ears to my computer? What sort of company sells the Internet? How did you buy your Internet? How do I turn it on and off?”

Then I get a little agitated. How agitated? Imagine your loopiest great aunt’s first frenzied efforts to use a remote control, the outcome of which involved head injuries, sedatives, and a tiny fist-sized hole in the TV screen.

I suck at this. As I see it, I have two options: either pay someone in home-cooked meals to figure it out for me, or abandon the Internet entirely and communicate exclusively by text messager pigeon. Help?

46 comments:

Lemmonex said...

Text messaging is clearly the only option....just try to be sober while you do i.

Malnurtured Snay said...

You should steal your neighbor's wi-fi. It passes through your apartment, so if you reach up, you should be able to grab it. Just get a whole bunch, insert it into your computer (the I: drive), and you're good to go until it runs out!

Malnurtured Snay said...

Oh, but also? It's invisible. So that might be a problem.

Shannon said...

Lemmonex - alkjhtlio! Omg! Amoeba weenie!

Snay - I did hack into a wireless for a while, but they started password protecting it. Question: can the little musicians inside my radio also get me the Internet?

[F]oxymoron said...

I beg to differ DSJ... you do embrace novelty! By eschewing the lowly human tendency to embrace the newest life altering technologies, you have made a conscious decision to place yourself in a "technologically lost" state of mind. And a perpetual state of wonder. What better way to embrace novelty!

Oh, and screw Comcast.

Shannon said...

Foxy - Well, I'm very contrary (which folds into being crotchety). As Lem and I were discussing the other day, I've become more, not less, optimistic and trusting in the last decade. (Unfortunately, that kicks me in the ass on a fairly regular basis.)

[F]oxymoron said...

Word.

Malnurtured Snay said...

In all seriousness, I've very infrequently had problems with Comcast.

Malnurtured Snay said...

And, no, the little musicians in your radio can't make your internet work. You need little IT guys for that. You have to get them imported from Japan.

Shannon said...

Foxy - Number!

Are we doing word association psychiatric tests now?

Snay - What's a Comcast? And can the really, really tiny IT guys inside my Asus eee help?

Malnurtured Snay said...

Shannon - depending on your luck with the tiny IT guys, Comcast might mean your Asus eee are giving you anus "EEE!" problems.

Fiery Nuggets said...

Here is some concrete advice -- if you have a telephone line in your apartment (which I'm assuming you do if you are a self professed luddite), you can connect to the internet through your phone. You just have to have an internet service provider (like AOL or some other dial-up service). This is probably the most non-tech forward approach, so it would fit your style.

Shannon said...

Snay - Ew. I am in awe.

Fiery Nuggets - I don't have a land line! I thought about getting one, just so I could get a rotary phone.

Malnurtured Snay said...

If Shannon were really a luddite? She'd be asking how to send text messages with a abacus.

Malnurtured Snay said...

sorry - that should've read, 'an abascus.'

lacochran said...

If you have cable you can access that way via broadband. Just call 'em. If not, you may need to buy in to cable or phone or something just to get you hooked up.

Or, do everything on your phone. You'll get carpal tunnel but that's a small price to pay for our daily amusement, don't you think?

lacochran said...

And by phone, I meant cell phone. If you don't have that... um, dust off that CB.

Shannon said...

Snay - Don't be silly, you can't send text messages with an abacus. You need a homing pigeon for that!

Lacochran - So, if I open up my phone, the Internet will be inside? And I don't have a landline or cable (I don't watch TV and don't really intend to start).

Malnurtured Snay said...

Shannon --

You can get cable-internet access without getting cable-TV access. BUT! If you got cable-TV, you could watch reruns of Star Trek TNG. :)

Zipcode said...

I still have an 8 track player and my atari 2600 and they both work. I only have two 8 tracks though haha

Shannon said...

Snay - But then I'd have to abandon all my petty idealism and watch TV.

Zip - I'm actually really jealous. My mom used to have this wood-paneled station wagon (very Family Truckster) with an 8-track player. She only had two 8-tracks: Olivia Newton-John and ABBA. It was just as awesome as it sounds.

Malnurtured Snay said...

One of my last college classes was Roots of Rock & Roll, and one day the prof started talking about his music collection and did a whole class about the idiocy of in-car record players (which, actually used to exist ... they were mounted upside down under the dashboard and skipped all the time).

Malnurtured Snay said...

Shannon -

No, see, that's what I'm saying. Cable-internet is internet access via cable, just as cable-tv is TV watching ability delivered via cable. It is possible to get internet via cable without getting TV via cable.

FoggyDew said...

Seriously, I thought we'd settled this on Saturday. We're going to set you up with a wireless router of your own so those invisible internets just keep flying in and out of your apartment.

Don't worry, won't hurt a bit.

Shannon said...

Snay - Next you'll tell me the moon landing really happened.

Foggy - Will I have to charge them rent? I did look on Comcast's website and couldn't find anything about wireless.

Malnurtured Snay said...

There's also really no big troll in the basement of your building pulling the elevator's pulley system: it's all MAGIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Malnurtured Snay said...

Shannon:

No, you buy the router. I mean, I guess you could rent one from them, but why not just buy it? It has pretty lights that flash.

bh said...

You're timely.

I just finally gave in to the protestations of girlfriend, friends, my mom, and my kids and signed up for Verizon internet at my house.

I lived without cable for six years. People usually looked at me like I just publically announced I had contracted the first case of smallpox in thirty years.

And it's true now that I have cable: There is literally NOTHING ever on.

bh said...

And the classic Statler and Waldorf vs. Milton Berle. Cheers:

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=statdler%20and%20waldorf&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#

Shannon said...

bh - Personally, people look at me like I have polio, and perhaps a case of the vapors.

Zipcode said...

ha one of my 8 tracks is olivia newton john woohoo

Shannon said...

Zipcode - And me without my Xanadu soundtrack! Otherwise I'd rock out to it all night tonight.

JFo said...

Just ask your neighbor for the wireless password. Maybe sweeten the deal with some booze or baked goods.

amyn said...

Dude I would totally let you steal my internet if you gave me homecooked meals.

Shannon said...

JFo - Actually, that's a pretty good idea. Maybe I could offer to chip in for someone's connection in exchange for the password.

Amyn - I make a mean Carolina pulled pork.

Patty Duke said...

But do you know how to cook the pig that the pull pork comes from?
If you do, how do you cook it? On a spit, in a pit or in the ground.

I don't have cable or a land line either. I have a Wi-Wi card from my cell company.

Now let talked about old:

1. I have a 36 year old lamp that I still use.

2.I have furniture that's been around for 55+ years.

3. Although I do have a cd player, I still use my audio casette player.

4.My house is over 90 years old.

5. Do I even need to mention my love of old T.V. shows.

briankainec.com said...

Wow, I don't even clean stuff that has dust on it, I just throw it away. The oldest thing I own is from 5 years ago....

Shannon said...

Patty - I use a Crock-Pot. And you and I are members of the same tribe.

Brian - I think that's the most classically American comment anyone has ever left me! Do you also wear disposable contacts?

HP said...

My stereo is comprised of a receiver my ex gave me that he bought in the 70's, with a cord that connects it to my ipod and two big speakers that my parents bought in the 60's so that they could listen to the pile of vinyl that now sits in my closet. In other words, I totally relate.

Therefore, I cannot help you with your wireless conundrum. I long gave up on stealing from my stingy neighbors and now suffer without internet at home. It blows.

Shannon said...

HP - If it wasn't for old boyfriends, I'd be amusing myself with shadow puppets.

Also, y'all. Hotmail just sent me a message thanking me for using them for TEN YEARS.

Patty Duke said...

Got that also.

Zandria said...

I can see why living like this would be easier...no need to try to keep up with the latest and supposedly-greatest gadgets. But no iPod? What do you listen to when you're walking around?? :)

HP said...

Old boyfriends are so useful in that capacity, aren't they? My sleeping-appropriate tee shirt collection would be non-existent if it weren't for old bfs.

Shannon said...

Patty - It's good to not be alone.

Zandria - I prefer to be aware of my surroundings. It's probably that old Bogota paranoia, but the idea of walking around in an iPod bubble gives me the willikes.

HP - And I would have truly godawful taste in music. I mean, worse than I already have.

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