Thursday, September 19, 2013

Eliot the Cat Gets an iPhone 5S

Now that I know that he can access the finger-print security pad, I see no reason to withhold any longer.

Eliot has always been a technophile. Here he harnesses
the sun's light to fuel future activity.

Check out the TechCrunch article about the new iPhone 5S's super loosy goosy touch pad here.

(Isn't it cute how the iPhone user gives the cat a little good job paw rub at the end?)

Monday, September 16, 2013

More on Gen-Y

This is Lucy.

In my previous post about the Y Generation, I separated out "Millennials" as group a little bit younger than myself (born in the 90s, perhaps). This humorous article extrapolates on why Gen Y is a sad generation. Broken down, it seems that our ambitions and undeserved superiority make "regular" life feel inadequate. Is it true? You decide.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Disconnection of Constant Connection

My generation moved from low-tech (or tech free) to high tech seamlessly. When I say "my generation" I recognize that there may be some debate about who falls into this group. I readily accept that Gen X ended in the 70's. The generation that came after (some say 77-94) is often called the Millenials. Although I was born in 1982, the idea of being group in with "Millenials" terrifies me.  Us early 80's babies have almost nothing in common with the early 90's babies. So, I suppose that makes me Gen Y, if that is such a thing.

Part of this differentiation comes from our experience with technology.  As an 80s baby, I remember when we first got the new and tiny internet, I got my first cell phone in college and avidly used Friendster and MySpace in my 20s before Facebook was ever born.

My generation grew up without these technologies, but were young enough to accept them as they were introduced. We took to cell phones, tablets and social networking slightly faster than our older siblings, but had a memory of walkmans, fax machines and typewriters that our younger siblings did not.

I was in middle school when I got hooked on AOL Instant Messenger, the precursor to a lot of the social media that I eventually got hooked on. As social websites evolved, I stuck with it.  I loved connecting with friends who had moved away, promoting my writing ventures, and using the hive-mind those applications collect to make decisions for me (What movie should I see tonight?), but recently I started to pull back. Perhaps it's the memory of what once was that has been causing me trouble.

When I close my eyes, I remember debates about movie characters that were not solved instantaneously with Wikipedia. I remember writing and receiving long emails and even paper letters full of details of friend's lives, rather than skimming their About Me sections, and receiving phone calls of good news rather than reading about a Relationship Status change on my cell phone while I wait for the train. I remember waiting to hear a song on the radio - and excitedly blasting it in the car - instead of just downloading everything I want whenever I want.

The happiness and energy that I used to feel being connected to so many people and their lives all the time has faded. The more I read about my friends and acquaintances online, the more distant I feel. My phone rarely rings. My emails are all deals and promotions. Friend post funny stories on my wall, instead of telling me in person. Happy hour plans are made electronically.

I think the recognition that this sort of constant communication leaves all of us out of touch is something Millenials might not be able to feel. They have always had everything at their fingertips. They have never gone 5 years without seeing the faces of their friends.  The memory of what once was makes this reality a little harder to accept. I think this is the feeling our parents (and their parents) have always tried to communicate to us with all of their "back in my day" stories.

The good thing is that getting back to the connections and communications that I remember isn't that hard. When I have a funny story to tell you, I'll call. When you see something online that reminds you of me, send it in an email. Cut out a magazine article and mail it. Let's ask each other how we are doing rather then gleaning each other's moods from our newsfeeds.

I'm a Gen Yer. That means that technology is a part of my life (a part that I love) - but that also means that I came of age during a simpler time. A time when people connected in person, and we shared our good news with our family and closest friends before we told everyone we've ever met with the click of a mouse.

Maybe by disconnecting a little we can all feel more connected.

This post from buzzfeed actually addresses this gap a little bit.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day Spring Cleaning

The dust that lined the baseboards had been building its home in the quiet darkness for almost four years. It feathered in the humid summer as air forced its way around the curves and corners powered by a box fax across the room, but it never lost its resolve. On Labor Day, it let loose. It made its way into my nostrils and lungs, stuck to the skin of my sweat-moistened stomach as I dragged out piles of unmatched socks and empty shoeboxes from the depths of my almost walk-in closet, clad only in a neon yellow tie-died sports bra and basketball shorts, on another steamy Chicago end-of-summer day.

Marathon training had been the impetus of a 12-mile run on Saturday morning and a 16-mile bike ride on Sunday afternoon, but I am a rule-follower, and Mondays are rest days. Overwhelmed by the impotence of a Monday off of work with no run to run, I decided at some point in the early afternoon that my bedroom closet would be the day's project. I could write or draw dinosaurs (two actually purposeful activities), but I craved a physical activity maybe to avoid a mental one.

I went through my closet, hanger by hanger, and removed some of my favorite shirts, shoving them deep into a donation bag, feeling reckless and irritated at my lifelong nostalgia. I decided I was out of my sneaker phase, replacing four pairs of infrequently worn, seriously worn-in shoes with a few sets of high heels on the shelf above my head.

Sneezing and sweating, I cleaned.  The computer blared indie dance tunes from the front room and the cat stayed safely hidden away from the commotion. I made a new space for the shoes that lived mostly in the hallway, and the stack of wicking shirts that had found a home on the floor. I found coins and bobby pins and, for some reason, three cylinders of Smarties. 

I imagined moving to my next place, and a shared closet with my girlfriend that wasn’t overrun by my clutter. I imagined loving my home so much that I would care too much to somehow let delicious packs of pastel colored candies get loose and live in the shadows of my GAP collared shirts.

The Great Closet Clean of 2013 was part girl-who-can’t-sit-still, part physical exercise, and part ode to commitment. In the weeks that precede yet another birthday, I want to continue to grow. I want to prove to myself that I am not done evolving. I also don’t want to end up on an episode of Hoarders.