March 20, 2005

I promised to provide a link to the audio post from SGL2 so that everyone at York Central School (my old stomping ground many, many years ago) can hear the post. So, without further ado, here it is: Click to Play Audio from AudioBlogger.com Server. I don’t have any way to know if the post will still be blocked in the school or not because I don’t have access to a computer inside the BOCES firewall but at least I know that everyone can get to this page. The audio clip is stored by Google at their Audioblogger site. This is a clip of Sara Richardson and the Ladies Society girls from “The Music Man” doing a quick sound bit of “pick a little talk a little”. Tony West and I recorded the girls in the school’s lobby right after the show on Friday night and posted them directly from there.

Another week of making it to church on time. Who are we? I think aliens have taken over my body and are driving me to church each week.

After church, dad, Min and I were guests of Arnie and Lucy Kelly in Perry Center. I haven’t been over to their house in years. We had a really nice time there altough I dominated most of the time that we spent there talking about military history (maybe that is why I had such a good time.) We weren’t able to stay for very long because Min had to get to work and dad had to get down to Leicester to babysit grandma while Sara and Jeremy (a.k.a. Mini Me – Or is he?) are in their musical and their parents are watching. So we had to cut things short. Min dropped me off at home on the way into work.

I wanted to relax some this afternoon so I planted myself down in front of my laptop and I turned on Zinf and started listening to some Tech Nation interviews downloaded from IT Conversations. While I was listening, I heard Moira Gunn interviewing Malcolm Gladwell on TechNation (TechNation is broadcast on traditional radio via NPR) and they talked about autism and aspergers as those who suffer from those conditions are affected by the use of body language for communication. It was quite interesting. You can learn so much from listening to awesome content from podcasting.

My sinuses are really bothering me today. But I can’t quite figure out why. I can breath just fine and they don’t hurt. But my breathing “feels” weird. I can’t quite explain it. It is kind of like I am on the verge of snoring while I am awake and can’t do anything to stop it. I have realized, recently, that when I go to blow my nose I will quite often cause my throat to close off – just like I would do if I was snoring. It is incredibly painful but for years I always associated the pain with the movement of my tongue in the back of my throat or something like that. Only recently have I realized that since my throat closes with I am breathing in OR out that that has to be what is happening when I am trying to blow my nose. All of that pressure causes by throat to close even when I am trying consciencly to hold it open. And boy does it ever hurt when it closes off like that.

For all of the super Wil Wheaton fans out there, Min just called me to let me know that the deluxe edtion of Stand By Me is coming out this Tuesday. Although I think that $16 might be a little bit extreme for that movie. It is a movie of such an age that one would expect it to be $10 or less and not an unlikely pick for the Walmart $7 rack. So I am rather doubtful that we will be running out to spend that kind of money on it. But Min really wants to get it so I could be wrong – it has happened before. [Update: Jeremy blogged about his performance after he got back from the after party.] [Update: Jeremy has since deleted that blog.]

I talked to my aunt and uncle – they said that the musical went tons better tonight. It is too bad that Tony and I didn’t wait until this afternoon to go to see it but with Min going to work and dinner at the Kelly’s I couldn’t have scheduled that. But I am glad to hear that they managed to pull the show together for the final night. I guess last night was a bit better than Friday night’s show as well. It would have been tough getting a show to be cohesive since Friday was their first time through the show – they would never have seen each piece in the context of the show as a whole.

I have been reading the really interesting book “Got Game” and it has made me realize something: No matter how much I feel right now that I will continue to embrace change and work to understand and keep up with younger generations as I get older, by the time I am sixty I will have lost the ability to fundamentally understand how the “kids” in their mid-twenties think. It is unavoidable. The book looks at how the “video game” generation is changing business and why baby boomers (our parents) are having such a hard to relating to and understanding us. The premise is that a completely immersive life style change happened in the early 1980’s and only those young enough to take part in it even knew that it was happening. The change is that video gaming and boomers, almost across the board, just don’t understand what it is like to have grown up with pervasive video gaming. For those of us in the VG Generation (born post 1975), video games are an accepted and expected part of life. 92% of us play video games. It’s just a part of life. We can’t imagine life without it. We have never known a world without highly interactive entertainment. Television, to us, has always been the “mind rotting” passive form of entertainment that our parents often think that video gaming is. Video games have changed our outlook on the world from that of previous generations in ways that neither they nor us can really understand since no one can really understand, not well at least, both sides of the equation. It must be really frustrating to the older generation(s) to look at us and realize now that we have modified the human cognitive development process and that our minds actually work differently than theirs do. In fact, many of the things we were told to do as children might have been counter productive to us given our modified development. One of the ways that we are shown as being different is that video gamers show a special ability to multitask and to do so very rapidly. Previous generations often felt unable to concentrate on anything if there was too much going on – too many irons in the fire, if you will. But video gamers are often better served by having more going on, it helps to keep us interested, makes life more engaging and, because we can multitask with so little overhead, it allows us to switch between tasks when we meet with a stumbling block in one area so that we can maintain productivity when previous generations would resort to the traditional practice of “making sure the walls don’t get up and leave when no one is looking.”

Look at the impact of video games on my generation (I am considered to be one of the very oldest of my generation, apparently) made me think about how there must have been similar, although probably less significant, factors like this to define previous generations or generation groups (the video game generation is a loosely defined group without an end but beginning in 1975 and encompassing the “baby boomer echo” which includes Gen X and Gen Y and is still gaining new members.) I think that the real impact is probably only going to exist in the baby boomer echo (BBE) which are the kids of 1975-1995 because these are the kids who are going to understand the kids from 1995-2010 or so but won’t likely have many kids of their own until after that time (there is likely to be a little overlap.) So this is the transition period where we are just discovering the factors that separate the generations. Just like kids today are growing up with pervasive communications networks (the Internet, cell phones, low cost telephone, etc.) Imagine life as a typical teen today – easy, free access to communicaions 24×7. Sure, not everyone’s parents allow them to use all of the communications options that are available – but many are allowed to use them and many more use them anyway. Communication has become so simple and available that the world of adolescence has changed so dramatically over the last five years that I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like to be that age now. When I was 15, the only forms of communications that I had with people were traditional post (a.k.a. snail mail) which was ridiculously useless and I probably used for inter-personal communications on no more than 20-25 separate occasions and telephone. But for me, living in rural Rochester southern area, there were no people that I knew that were not long distance. When I attended private school (see: Blogging Eric’s description of our elementary school lives.) from K-8, there was not anyone that I knew from school that was a local phone call (nor did I know anyone who lived within 16.7 miles that I wanted to hang out with on a regular basis.) When I later went to high school (9-12) at York Central High, I was once again confronted with the phone issue as the school itself was now long distance (although a ten minute bicycle ride away) along with all but one girl in my class whom I only barely knew but could bond with over our mutual screwing by the tepephony powers-that-be. So for me, most of my adolescence was spent in a world totally devoid of communications with the outside world. This was enhanced by the fact that we lived in the country and I could not walk to the house of someone I knew and was not able to bicycle to the house of someone I knew until I was 14. And then it was still 16.7 miles in one direction. But now, teens today have a completely different world. The prevalence of cell phones, VoIP and low cost traditional telephony has made voice communications simple and available to almost everyone almost all of the time. Teens today can scarcely imagine a world where they couldn’t reach anyone they knew at any time day or night. And they would especially be amazed to find out that people used to have to pay by the minute just to call their school or a kid who lived down at the end of the road. Telephones didn’t change much for sixty years and overnight they got to be so different that we can’t even imagine how much they are impacting kids in high school today. At age 16 I couldn’t call my friend who lived three miles away without paying long distance charges (that would be Josh Relyea) and today, for less monthly charges, we have unlimited calling to the entire US and Canada! But that is just the beginning. Now with email and instant messaging (not to mention blogs, home pages, video phones, Video-over-IP, file sharing, multiplayer online video games, online directories, etc.) kids are able to communicate with each other, easier, faster, cheaper at anytime of the day or night. And not only can they communicate in ways that replace the need for traditional technologies, but they can also use these new mediums as ways of meeting new people. Suddenly teens and pre-teens can interact with kids from other schools as easily as kids from their own. Kids from the country can talk to kids in the city. Kids can carry on ten conversations at once – plus use the phone. Keeping in touch is just a matter of course. The social aspects of the connected society are of little import to adults but to adolescents the changes happening are reshaping the world that we live in and I can only imagine how it will change the adults of tomorrow. Already I can see the forces that are changing the younger portion of my own generation in ways that will make it difficult for me to relate to them. The digital divide is hitting the generations only now as we discover the effect that simple communication changes will have on the teenage lifestyle.

Looking back I can see similar shifts – much less drastic but similar – affecting two major generations groups. One being the baby boomers – my parent’s generation. They were the generation raised with television. The first really passive entertainment media. Sure, their parents had radio, but radio was just a supplementary form of entertainment. You listened to the radio while you did chores, played with toys, read the paper, painted a picture, etc. Radio was only barely entertainment to be compared with television. But television was disrupting to the household. It made it difficult to eat dinner together as a family. It stopped people from reading as much (the Internet is giving us that back.) It made people expect to be entertained instead of being able to entertain themselves. It taught people to be able to totally ignore huge portions of the information that was presented to them. They learned to consume electronic data quickly. They learned to have very short attention spans and to switch rapidly between subjects. Before television, reading a book would generally cause a person to follow a single storyline for a long period of time since they would only read a single book at a time. Once television was available, people began switching between shows every thirty to sixty minutes. Attention spans dropped and storylines would become disjointed and intermingled. Parents of chilren born from 1945-1965 (the baby boomers) must have wondered what so much time spent in front of a television would do to their children. But I am pretty sure that they were comfortable with it and had a pretty decent idea of its impact. They were able to watch television with the kids and to share in the experience. They only lacked the adolescent impacts such as the social structure that allowed kids to talk to friends about shows, etc.

Now look back another generation. My grandparent’s generation, born from around 1915-1935. I don’t know the common designation of this generation. [This generation was to additionally be shaped by the Great Depression which was a one time occurrence and not a significant technological shift that would permanently change the way that we dealt with, understood or interacted with society.] But this generation was the first generation to have ready access to both electronic long distance communications and to long distance modes of travel. The telephone was invented in 1876 but it was this generation that was finally able to really use the telephone on a regular basis. They would grow up with the telephone being available almost everywhere. Emergency communications were always available and, when necessary, talking to a person from another town was almost always an option. In fact, the telephone usage of this generation would be almost identical to the usage by their children and by their children such as me. My grandmother’s telephone experience would have been extremely similar to my own and my father’s. This generation was the first to have semi-affordable and somewhat reliable automobiles. Travel between cities was not only possible but almost regular. Long distance travel was still very uncommon but suddenly very accessible due to the introduction of the airplane and the recent opening of airports. The generation previous to this one would have seen any distance over 10-20 miles as a major difficulty (except in the rare cases where train travel was available) and personal communications would have been limited to post or, in an emergency, telegraph. Imagine how this generation grew up in a “foreign” world to the one of their parents. They were also the first to have radio. Radio allowed for news to be diseminated dramatically more rapdily than newspaper had ever been able to do and it gave a real sense of people being connected to each other. Radio created a real sense of community that would have been unavailable previously.

So Andy and I were looking up something about the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” or Mormons as most of you know them. We had some questions about secret (sorry, I mean sacred) underwear – but I will let Eric blog about that topic. Anyway we found a clip taken from the “Book of Mormon” and apparently, there is a book or chapter in the BOM called Moroni. Now, maybe I am confused about this but isn’t moroni the plural form of the word Moron? Maybe the Mormons know something that we don’t. Oh wait, no, we know it too.

Andy actually went to bed significantly before me tonight. I didn’t even know it was late at all and I went upstairs to get a drink of water and he had gone to bed. That almost never happens.

I keep hearing sounds from upstairs like someone is up and walking around. I can normally tell exactly what is going on upstairs when I am in my office because we haven’t insulated the floor yet so it is just the plain joists there and you can hear every little thing. So I run upstairs to see who is up there and I don’t see anyone. Andy is still sleeping and there is nothing weird going on. No one could be hiding upstairs, it is a small house and it just isn’t feasible. This happened a few times. I have no idea what is going on. I finally gave up trying to figure out what I am hearing.

I decided that there needs to be a new term generated to deal with all of the fake blogs that there are around so I have decided on the term BLAM. You can read more about BLAM at SGL2. But I thought that it was pretty cool to have my own original industry term but I think that it is a good one and that it is needed so now we have one. Everyone should use it right away to refer to all of those awful, fake blogs trying to sell us stuff.

So, at 2:17 this morning I decide to be safe and to check my calendar for tomorrow. Oops. Doctor’s appointment first thing in the morning. I guess I need to get out there for that. It is in Batavia. What a pain. Forty minutes of driving. Ten minutes waiting in the lobby. Then for five minutes he says “Everything okay?” And I say “I ran out of Protonix.” Then he writes me a prescription and it is forty minutes back home again. No wonder Target is planning on putting in the ten minute clinic into their stores.

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