Finally I Can Yearn for the Good Old Days

in lineGenerally speaking, I am not one to pine for the good old days – way back when life was easier in the early to mid 1980’s (way back then).  I like to think at least I am someone who embraces life today and cherishes the moment.  But after taking 16.5 to register for driver’s ed, finally I can yearn for the good old days.

Perhaps because we were recently talking about it, or perhaps I just remember – but the fact that there was nothing momentous about my registering for driver’s ed.  That’s a stark contrast to the 90 minutes we spent tonight getting the deed done.

Way back in the old days of 1984 (or maybe it was early 1985) I took a form a check and walked up to the office at the school where I took driver’s ed and I was done.  Tonight, we walked into the high school up the road, and there was easily 75 kids (and assorted parents) on a line snaking through the front hallway and down an adjoining corridor.

There were two women in the school’s office taking checks and forms – and writing (as in pen to paper) names on lists.  One of the parents commented that in 2016, there should be a better way…

Yeah I thought, they could do it like they did way back in 1984.  It wasn’t an event.  It really should not have been memorable.  In contrast I suppose it will be.

So, finally I can yearn for the good old days.  The days when putting pen to paper and handing in a check wasn’t an evening out – it was just another stop along the way.

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The End of an Era-The Obit of the Printed Encyclopedia

The first mentions of it came (at least my way) via Twitter.  Then I saw it on Facebook.  Finally, I was able to get to my iPad and see it in electronic-print for real.  It’s the end of an era as Encyclopedia Britannica surrenders to the inevitable and gives up the print editions.

Just think about how you found out about this. Chances are it was not this morning when you got your copy of the New York Times (or your morning paper of choice) from the end of your driveway.  Chances are it was not even on the late news of choice last night.  In fact, it’s very likely you found out about this “stunning” change via the same medium that helped kill the printed volumes.

I truly do have found memories of the encyclopedia (Britannica and World Book).  The new volumes coming out of the boxes.  The never-ending cross referencing you could from one volume to the next.

There were episodes of TV shows growing up-Happy Days leaps to mind quickly where being a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman played a central role.

And now, all of that content.  All of that information is available on line-and I am not even talking about Wikipedia.

Perhaps the first tell-tale that this day would come was when library Sciences moved away from Dewey decimal.  I don’t know.

But I do know, there is no way my kids would know how to pull an encyclopedia off the shelf and do some research.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing since I always strived as a student and strive as a parent to understand how to find information-wherever it is and not be slave to a specific method of finding information.

So, I’ll fire up my iPad (I have the 3 on order BTW) and read more about the demise of this piece of Americana via other institutes that have already made the shift-newspapers, magazines and video.  And you know what?

Even though I’ll remember the fun of looking through the images of the human body and the solar system in the printed books-the information is not lost-it’s actually more readily available.  And that’s a good thing, right?

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Could it Be? Am I Getting Better at This?

I could also call this update, what a difference five months can make.  Looking ahead at the schedule for school (or lack there of), work and all the other stuff-this week (and really this month) has the potential to be disastrous.  I think back to June and the struggle with partial school days, and other events tugging at me.

Now this week-11.0 only has school on Wednesday and Thursday.  9.0 is home on Tuesday and Friday.  I have a full day of meetings on Wednesday and have to prep for them on Tuesday.

But things are much calmer inside.  I feel like there is more control and less frantic running.

And that’s a good thing.

Yes, I made some changes: a better sitter, better infrastructure and the experience actually let me be calm about it all.  When I look at the entire month-it could be nerve-wracking.  Half days, no school, holiday breaks…

But this time, there is a sense of calm.  Calm because we’ve been through this.  Calm because there is not the feeling that there is so much else going on.  And on net, that’s a good thing.

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Mixing Social-Old School and New

Currently very popular with 8.5  and her friends is the online game Roblox.  She spends almost all of her unfettered computer time on the site.  (Just for the record her unfettered computer time is about an hour a day).  I’ve tried to play the game and watch her play and honestly I am not completely sure I get the point-but she has fun and it’s safe so all good.

The game has a pretty solid social component built into it-which is also safe, so I don’t have any significant qualms as a parent about the site.  But what is interesting about 8.5 and her friends is that way they play they ignore the site’s social tools and make old-school phone calls to one another.

This is not the Twitter crew just yet and I think they find their typing too slow to fully communicate at the speed of the game-so it’s an open phone line and quality computer time.

The closest parallel I can think of to my childhood-granted long ago-was the times we would call one another and “watch” some prime-time show like Happy Days “together.”

I often wonder if there is a water-cooler type show among my kids and their friends.  Sometimes I get some glimpses of that-Sponge Bob and iCarly top the list.  But in this age of on-demand viewing, there is not the same anticipation of Tuesday night at 8 when Happy Days would be on-and all my friends would watch.  We’d have that shared experience in time and destination (if not place) that we could talk about either on the phone or in school the next day.

So, some old-school tools bridge the shared world of today’s child.  Same idea that lived more than 30 years ago today among my friends and me, but with some modern-day twist.  I guess the bottom line is it’s still whatever works.

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