Sunday, January 31, 2010

31 January 1956 “My Computer Troubles, A Challenge for February, and Technology”


I both love this technology that has allowed me to meet all of you and for we to form this wonderful community. Yet, I loathe it for some of it’s scarier elements. This past week, my computer has been acting odd and we began to suspect it had a virus. It became so slow and froze so many times, that hubby has had to spend the past two days saving all my data, images info etc, backing it all up and then wiping the hard rive. Then he had to reinstall all my programs and various data. This ‘scare’ has also included some odd emails showing information concerning my banking accounts etc.

I try to do as little online of that as possible. I pay my bills with checks in the mail, but my bank is Online, rather I want it to be or not. And, if and when I wish to buy from eBay or Esty, I have to do so online with PayPal. There is no real way to get ‘unplugged’ unless, I wanted to give up all of you, which I do not.

As I have said before, one can live a Vintage Lifestyle WITH technology, if we remember to use it as a tool and not let it use us and own our time and our lives. Yet, the real danger of all our money becoming digital information merely being ‘passed’ over the internet is something one cannot escape, unless you keep all your cash in your mattress. Even then, you might need a card (debit) to rent a car or make travel arrangements. It seems we cannot escape or unplug from technology. So, the lesson I have learned, is with my computer, I have to be, as I have learned and am learning to be with my home, VERY organized and downsize things.

If I keep all of my files, etc, in a few easily to access folders, than every few months hubby can erase and reinstall windows on my computer, so as to best protect me. He is also a Linux man. He has wanted me to switch to it for sometime, but all of my expensive programs I use for my website are on windows as well as the program I use for my blog. So, he has partitioned my computer so that I can run both Windows and Linux. I am rather pleased with the outcome, as Linux (I have Ubuntu) has so many free programs that are great for organizing. So, that has made me happy.

But, I feel as if I am behind on my “Website” to do list. I am, today, trying  to catch up. First off, I have been working on getting our page ready for the FEBRUARY VINTAGE DIET & EXERCISE CHALLENGE. I hope, any of you who do not visit the website, would do so or like to do so for this challenge. We are going to be following a rough calorie counting diet plan for the month as well as using Jack Lalane’s original 1950’s broadcast exercises. IF you want to join in, go to the WEBSITE and then on the left click the Diet and Exercise page button and you will see some info. The Jack Lalane link can be found there as well as HERE. We will be discussing and sharing our ideas and victories on the Forums page under the February Diet Challenge topic. Join in, if you like!


jan56timecover This image on the cover of the 30 January 1956 Time magazine is a scary look into our future. The brain and the pointing hand in the missile. The post war years to now have been fraught with such fears.

Even here, in 1956, the Middle East is an issue:

Gathering his experts about him, Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden got set to visit the U.S. this week. The major problem on his agenda was finding Anglo-American agreement on the Middle East where, warned Eden, "a universal explosion could easily be touched off."
(To read the whole article from the 1956 issue go HERE)


Robert Browning 1812-1889

I was thinking today how there have been other times in history when others ‘looked back’ in hopes of making a better Future. I thought of Robert Browning’s Poem today:

Home Thoughts From Abroad
OH, to be in England

Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brush-wood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England -- now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops--at the bent spray's edge--
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children's dower
-- Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!
Robert Browning

Whilst Browning was writing this, his world was changing around him. The Bucolic setting of England was fast becoming littered with factories and the air filled with the black soot of the Industrial Revolution. Certainly, he saw an idyllic England where “…the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough” was on its way to an end.

This, of course, makes me think of our own time. My own longing to an older time, even to the post war years when technology was really beginning seems almost as if seen through a fairy mist. It has a touch of Avalon about it, as it sits on the threshold of the old and new worlds of technology and consumerism.

Certainly, my own problems with the computer and subsequent scare and anger over my own dependence on technology often makes me want to turn back the clock. Yet, there is so much that cannot be changed, so we must learn to live with it in a more aware or intellectual readied state.

If we could but embrace technology with its scientific merit, but distance ourselves with our human heart, then surely we could begin to ‘use’ technology when it is truly helpful and spurn it when it exits merely for ‘its own sake’. Why do we need a new cell phone every 6 months? Why does my phone need to be a camera, video recorder, TV, etc? Is my life better plugged into music all day at the expense of those around me, in getting to see and hear them, to know them? Are we now as isolated in crowds and on busy streets as we are at home in the darkened room: alone with the eerie flash of the TV or computer upon our glazed eyes? Each of us in our own room, disconnected from those around us, connected digitally to somewhere else?

Do we not have our own will? Can we not say, ‘no thank you’ and turn away? Need there be a TV/dvd player in the seats of cars to ‘entertain’ children? How about talking and discussing? If they scream and shout, ask them why? Isn’t it better to hear their complaints then to fill their little brains with flashing images preparing them to become future consumers?

Yes, I truly become scared of the future, but not because OF technology, but because of the way we let it USE us and our need for it FOR ITS OWN SAKE? It, itself, is not bad. It is neutral, it has no heart nor soul. It can only be what WE make it. WE cannot say, “OH I hate it but, I MUST do this or that online  it is easier.”

Well, YOU then are making it in control of your life. You can say no. You can do thinks simply and use it as a tool, which is why it was first made. SO many good intentions have lead to bad results. When factories were built to weave cloth, it is true it was to make a profit for the owner, but it also made jobs and fabric easier and cheaper for more people to have access to it. But then it made nature and the countryside change for the worse, it polluted, people were hurt, children, in the machines, the prices were then affective on local markets when overseas competition could now ship into your community.  Even now, our over abundance of clothes due to cheap and easy cloth and production makes us waste more money and more time and resources cleaning them, buying them, storing them. Imagine if you and your family each had exactly five outfits for each day of the week. One ‘play/work’ clothes for Saturday and your Sunday best. Imagine how easy wash day would be! Imagine the reduction in clothing cost! Especially if you mended those rather than replace them with new. Of course we say, “No that is impossible” But, it is not. We may think, well my kids need to be fashionable and we need to have more clothes, but why? Do we want to teach ourselves and our children that what others think of us or how we are viewed THROUGH consumerism is of higher value than savings, thrift, economy and more time away from caring for THINGS and instead spent on PEOPLE?

The Industrial Revolution was not done intentionally to hurt, but it has come to hurt. If we could have stopped along the way and thought of the WHOLE picture which is not JUST profit or EASE but HUMAN CONDITION and the outcome of our world and to smaller business and communities. Think what a different world it would be if we did consider those things FIRST. Yet, we accept every new thing without question and then ask, as we sit in our piles of STUFF, ‘Why is the world the way it is? WHY can’t it be like the old days?’

Well IT CAN, but it is up to YOU! It is up to all of US to say no. EASIER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER and to think a thing through to its end possible result just makes sound human sense. Yes, my kids need cell phones because then I can know where they are all the time. But, now they are more disconnected from one another and from you. They are growing up in a world where everything is at their fingertips and yet they cannot relate to the world or one another as humans as a whole or a community.

Every action has a reaction. We must THINK and we must ACT and we must be RESPONSIBLE. WE CAN HAVE THE GOOD OF THE ODL DAYS BACK. If we don’t want the chain stores to take over STOP SHOPPING THERE! “Oh, but it is so cheap and so easy”. I should rather have lived a hard but satisfying life than to save a few pennies and some time to have more to waste in front of the TV or to merely buy more junk we do not need. Truly, our Apron Revolution can only be if WE act and if we take ACTION. I want the old days as well, how bad do you want them?

So, though technology and advancement itself is never done specifically to hurt or is something in and of itself to fear, how we use and allow it to control our lives can be the hurtful thing. We need to use our technology wisely and when it does not serve our purpose, stop using it. If we don’t want the chain store in our town then stop shopping there.

With the discussion of Browning and his own look back to a less technological age, it  is somehow eerily fitting, then, that at his funeral was played the latest technology: an Edison Wax cylinder of his own voice reading one of his poems.  It was said it was the first time that a man ‘spoke from beyond the grave”

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