Category Archives: Personal stuff

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain

For some reason I was thinking about parts of the recent past that, as far as the most-current and upcoming generation are concerned, will never have existed. Things that some of us have strong memories of, but their existence was too short to make an indelible impact in film. The recording below will bring back memories… for some of us.

Rotary phones will be remembered always, despite having not been in use for decades. They have become one of those things a film maker uses to define the time period the viewer is seeing, much like the cars shown. The later pushbutton phone has been faithfully reproduced, digitally, on the modern cell phone. But there is a complete disconnect in the lineage of our use of computers and the 300 baud modems that connected them to the world. Future generations will grow up having no idea what it was like, having the computer-equivalent of talking to someone using orange juice cans connected by a string.

There just aren’t that many popular movies in which the use of modems was featured. War Games was one (my daughter Becky read this and thought I should add “You’ve Got Mail” to the list, but I’m not sure it’s going to be a movie that gets that much play down the road; now, if there had been a modem scene in “Sleepless in Seattle”, that would be another thing entirely!). But for the most part, someone young (today) looking back at such technology would think it not much different from communicating via orange juice connected by a string. If even that has any relevance.

How many things that I’ve grown up with fit into this category? How many things in generations past might be similar, or is this something new, a sign of a transitional technology that didn’t last long enough to make a dent in time?

I remember 300 baud modems, $800 10 megabyte hard drives, and thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if you could tell a computer to do something moderately complicated, then leave it to do its calculations and come back half an hour, and it’s all done? Somehow, maybe 20 years ago, we decided the computer had to be finished pressing the “enter” key.

My Mom, the Iron Lady

The “Iron Lady” has nothing on my mom. A couple weeks ago she was in for a checkup and asked about a mammogram. Seems they generally give women a pass on them, past a certain age (she’s somewhere on the upper side of 85; I not quite sure really because she doesn’t act like someone over 70 maybe, if that?).

Anyway, she asked if she could have one, and they said sure. Turns out there was a 1.4cm tumor hidden in there. So a couple days ago she goes in to have the offending side removed (“side?” Sorry, but my Mom y’know? My wife can have a breast or boob, but my Mom? Ewww…).

A few hours after surgery we’re visiting her at Kaiser; she’s up in her chair and smiling and eating an no paid meds stronger than Tylenol? Gets discharged the next morning and it’s like nothing ever happened. Still just Tylenol.

I have a really great photo of her taken that evening at Kaiser, which she admits is a great photo, but she won’t let me post it. You’ll just have to imagine someone with a big smile on her face, sitting in a chair, looking maybe 70 or so, without any indication that she’s just had a major operation.

My grandmother lived to be 102 by the way. She was quite upset when it became clear she wouldn’t make it to 103, because that would have been the record at her retirement home. 🙂