Grumpy Old Gamer

I grew up with technology as it was advancing. I had a NES when it came out, SNES when it came out, I have had every PlayStation as they came out, I build my own PCs for gaming, and generally enjoy the internet and its collection of knowledge at a click of a button. I had a rotary phone at one point in my life, that was hardwired into the house, now I have a computer that just happens to make phone calls, track my sleep, make recommendations, and spy on me, in my pocket all day long. There are two main areas of technology that I think are the most used in my house:

Technology is the answer to all of my children’s questions:

“You know” I say, “You can look things up for yourselves, you have the same tools I do.”

“But I am using mine”

“I was using mine too! You can’t really pause this game man, I’m in a dungeon!”

“Yeah but you know how to look stuff up, you’re in college and stuff!”

“Just open Google, and type in your question, then the magic box spits out your answer.”

<blank stare in teenager>

*%&#, we just wiped. Let me put the tank on auto follow and look it up really quick, what do you need?”

“How many cups are in a gallon, we are trying to make a cake but don’t know if we have enough, but it looks like its enough, and we just want to double check before we waste anything.”

<stares in defeat>

Photo by Crawford Jolly on Unsplash

Technology facilitates communication:

“Did you get me anything from Dutch Bros.”

“Did you reply to the text I sent you asking if you wanted anything?”

“I was busy watching a video, I didn’t see any text.”

“Did you answer the phone when I called you?”

“I keep it on silent, I don’t like using it!”

“I guess that’s why I have this delicious Dutch Bros. and you have water.”

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Photo by Hugo Brightling on Unsplash

Photo by Crawford Jolly on Unsplash

A Bad Poem About Technology

Whether it wakes you up early or keeps you up late,
whether you swipe left or find a date, 
whether you learn something new or fall for click bait, 
whether you take a selfie or share what you just ate,
whether you are getting a ticket or directions to the interstate, 
whether you are gaming alone or with a mate, 
whether you scroll or give Twitter an update,
whether you type or have Siri dictate, 
whether my students do their work or use Google translate,
a world of technology awaits. 

I am about as embarrassed of this poem as I am about how much time I spend on Twitter: very. But, it does speak some truth. I use technology for everything. I mean everything. Technology is how I feel safe as a woman walking alone, it is how I have any idea how to get where I am going, and it is how I stay connected to so many people in my life that I wouldn’t usually be able to.

Technology does in fact:

  • Keep me up late scrolling through social media.
  • Wake me up early with my terrible, terrible alarm clock.
  • Used to find me (really, really bad) dates.
  • Help me learn how to do pretty much everything (today I learned what a light in my car means, oil changed are important).
  • Make me fall for clickbait, a lot.
  • Take too many selfies.
  • Post a picture anytime I don’t burn the food I am cooking so people think I have my life together.
  • Buy tickets for everything that I can’t actually afford.
  • Get me to where I need to be- don’t ask me for directions.
  • Connect with my friends who I miss dearly.
  • Give updates on Twitter all day, everyday.
  • Sneakily text at work with Siri.
  • and help my students cheat on their Spanish homework.

And we all know that the list continues farther than we can all possibly imagine. Basically, as much as I do not like it and wish I lived in a world without technology where I just frolicked through a field and ate fruit all day, technology really helps me get through the day and I anxiously await what it brings into our lives next.

My Grandma Thinks Touch and Face ID Will be the Downfall of the US

Featured image by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

When I was in 5th grade, I received my very first piece of technology that was solely mine. It was a tiny slide phone that basically served the purpose of assuring my parents that I would not be kidnapped if they allowed me more independence outside of the house. In 6th grade I received an iPod touch 4, by 8th, I had my first iPhone. From that point on, my world was opened up to the everchanging world that is technology. It became something I relied on daily, hourly even.

My friends share similar experiences fo their introductions into technology like phones and computers. My housemates are twins and shared a flip phone from 4th grade to 8th grade. My best friend didn’t get her first phone until 7th grade, but she skipped the flip and slide phones and went straight into an iPhone. My age group of middle class people seemingly went through similar transition in their preteen years that greatly affected how we view and use technology as adults today.

We use our phones and computers for everything. We use our phones for communicating, playing games, getting directions, procuring food, and so much more. We use our laptops and iPads for schoolwork, photo editing, watching tv and movies, searching up mysterious medical symptoms, etc. The people close to me in age might share this similar experience, we grew up in the time when Apple product drops were bigger news than a moon landing.

But, what about the people younger than myself? Or the people older?

Multiple iPhone generation Photo by Tron Le on Unsplash, Two Computer Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash, iPod Photo by Batu Gezer on Unsplash

To get a better perspective on the younger generation’s ties to technology, I spoke with my cousin and her daughter who is about to turn 12. Her name is Annabelle and she got her first phone in 1st grade. It was an iPhone and her mother theorized that the sudden drop in the age kids seem to get phones can be attributed to the abundance of the technology. My cousin gave her daughter her hand-me-down phone since she tends to get a new iPhone every 2 years. She also figured that it couldn’t hurt for her child to always be able to get in contact with her.

This is a trend I have noticed. Kids are getting younger and younger when they receive their own pieces of technology. They also are much more exposed to it in their earlier years. I was calling my best friend’s landline home number for playdates, nowadays, kids can just send their friends text messages.

There is also, obviously, an increase in the amount that technology is used in school. Some elementary students receive iPad’s that they can take home with them for the school year. Now we take university classes to learn how to utilize the technology in classrooms.

If this is a dramatic shift for me and people my age, you can only imagine how older generations feel about all this technology.

My grandma is a spunky lady. She asked us one year to gift her ‘cool’ socks because she wanted to ‘hip’ like my sister and I. We liked to wear patterned socks that never matched. However, hip she is not when it come to technology.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Just this past weekend I had to help her through setting up her new phone over FaceTime. She expressed her disdain for setting up the facial ID that allows you to avoid putting your password in every time you open up your phone. This is something most people find pretty convenient. But my grandma, who is a self-made millionaire, thinks facial ID and Touch ID are efforts by the government to have more access to our private lives.

According to her, They are cataloging our faces and fingerprints, adding this information to a database that allows for easier tracking of US citizens. This speaks to her general distrust of all the emerging technology.

Her husband of 59 years, my grandpa, who passed away in January 2021, was a teacher for 50 years in a small town in southern Washington. I know both of them held strong opinions about the use of technology in schools. My grandpa often said technology had no place being so ingrained in the modern school system. But he also retired before it became commonplace to even have projectors set up in classrooms, especially in smaller towns. I think he would be able to see the positives of it had he had more hands-on use of technology. But this was also the guy who only ever owned a flip phone and never learned how to answer that, so maybe not…

Generationally, it is really interesting to examine the differences in thoughts on technology. Some people think we don’t utilize it enough, others think it is helping the government topple our freedoms. Whether you’re of one of these opinions or somewhere in the middle, I do believe technology is a great tool when tapped into correctly by teachers. The classroom should never revolve completely around tech, but it is impossible to ignore the prevalence it has in our lives and how even in the time since I was 10-year-old things have changed a lot.

Soulja Boy Was Ahead of His Time

I was to start off by first acknowledging that technology certainly has its problems and downsides. There is a lot of nuance in the role technology can play in our lives. In this post, I want to focus on the positives that technology has played in my life especially during the times of COVID-19.

For me, above all, technology has been a tool for connection and enrichment. When I first got access to the internet, I found myself with multiple ways of accessing information that would not have been obtainable for me to learn. Like many, I went down these “rabbit-holes” of info diving learning about as many things as possible. Did you know that Europeans ate mummies? They also had “undressing” parties for the mummies. There is a website where you can listen to radio stations around the world! There are many other facts I’ve learned and interesting sites I’ve found while deep-diving for information, but at the risk of rambling about useless information I’ve found, I’ll turn to technology and connection.

As a child of a military parent, we moved around a lot. Technology helped me keep in contact with the people I met as we moved which was pretty important to me. The song Kiss Me Thru The Phone by Soulja Boy came out in 2008 and it pretty much served as my anthem. I mean not being able to see someone you loved in person was very personal for me, and as it would happen, this theme would be the norm as COVID-19 spread throughout the world.

Like Soulja Boy, we were all forced to convey our emotions and best wishes to our loved ones through the phone…and zoom…and facetime…

As everyone found themselves separated from friends and family, technology increasingly became vital for me. Through many different platforms, I was able to stay connected with the people closest to me. We facetimed, had Netflix parties, shared stories, and played games all from our homes across the United States. Like Soulja Boy, we were all sending kisses through our phones (and iPads, computers, TVs, etc.).

Without the technology we have available to us, it would have been impossible for me to maintain my sanity. Obviously, quarantine was incredibly difficult, but I realize that my circumstances were incredibly privileged because I had access to technology that allowed me to maintain my contacts with those outside of my household. Who would have known that a song from 2008 would tell us how are relationships in 2020 would be playing out with technology?

Image Citations:

Featured Image: Photo by Shane on Unsplash

Technology Today

Ties communities together
Educates those with access
Communication across countries
Hours and hours scrolling away
Never can escape it now
Obsessing with how we're perceived
Laughing at our screens
Obsessed with needing the next
Gadgets and gizmos
Your tools to use

Authors Inspiration:

My inspiration for this poem is technology in the ways I have experienced and felt towards technology today. We have all these gadgets and gizmos that we use to communicate, educate, entertain, and do even more things with. We build an online persona that we hope others will like. We are presented with newer models and technology that we desire everyday. Technology is now a norm and we are never going to escape it so we must just learn how to use the tool.

Featured Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Scent Back In Time

Our class POV:
Technology should improve our lives by making things easier for us.

My Proposed Device:
Some sort of scent-catalog

Why a Scent-Catalog?

Have you ever smelled something familiar,

Maybe it made you feel something
– happiness, nostalgia, sadness… –
despite not remembering exactly what it was.

Or maybe you’ve forgotten what something smelled like
– a family dish, friends who’ve moved away, a place you visited… –
and miss it.

For some, maybe you even lost your sense of smell
– anosmia from COVID, nerve damage, or something else… –
and would like to re-experience it.

Not everything smells great, but still.
Wouldn’t it be great to somehow be able to smell all of these lost scents again and figure out what they are?

How It Works

I’m imagining some sort of digital book with several wires connecting to our head. As we smell more things, more scents are recorded in it.

If we smelled something familiar and wanted to know what it was, we would just connect the wires to our head and the name of the smell would pop up on the digital book.

Even if we lost our sense of smell, by connecting the wires to our head and finding it in our digital book, it can somehow allow us to experience those recorded smells again.

How This Satisfies Our Class POV:
A common theme from our Class POV was that technology should improve our lives by making things easier for us.

By having a scent-catalog, we can more easily be “sent back in time” to reconnect with the things we miss. We can also re-live memories of people, places, and things that we might’ve forgotten about. This can be therapeutic and improve our lives.

Would you want to be “sent back in time”?

Featured Image by Tadeusz Lakota on Unsplash
Two People Hugging photo by adrianna geo on Unsplash
People Eating photo by Zach Reiner on Unsplash
Family Cooking photo by Jimmy Dean on Unsplash
Traveling in a Car photo by averie woodard on Unsplash
Candle photo by Daniel Andrade on Unsplash

No Power? Snow Problem

I like to consider myself an “old soul,” and I have tried my best to not become too dependent on technology. That being said, my whole perspective regarding my relationship with technology has shifted in the last few days.

As I write this post, I am snowed in by a record-breaking storm, and my power has been out for the last two days. Due to this power outage, I am noticing more and more simple technologies that I depend on in my daily life that are currently unavailable to me: a refrigerator to store food, my oven and stove to cook, my house’s heating system, a lamp to light up my dark room, wifi to connect to the internet, the ability to drive my car on unobstructed roads, food deliveries of any kind, and yes– power to charge my devices. As someone who considered themself “not dependent on technology,” the chaos and anxiety produced by this short lack of power has definitely proven this label incorrect.

“What’s the big deal?” you might ask, “just bundle up and read a book. You don’t need technology.” I would agree with you– if it were not for the litany of assignments and deadlines piling up that all require a functioning laptop and internet connection. During this season of distance learning, technology is the often the only link between myself and my duties as both a student and a teacher. I cannot do my job and teach my students if my laptop batteries dies or my wifi goes out. I cannot call my parents if my phone dies. I cannot email my students, supervisors, or professors to notify them without a device and internet connection.

It is clear that my profession, my studies, and my life cannot currently function without technology. But while technology can greatly hamper productivity when it is unavailable, its absence also produces adaptability and innovation. From my housemates and I putting our food outside in the snow to stay cool, to sitting in my car to get warm and charge my phone, to writing out lesson plans by candlelight, it is clear that technology is a huge part of our lives, but it is not everything. There was a world without technology not long ago, and if somehow the apocalypse hits and wipes out our modern comforts, I have faith that the world would adapt and overcome.

My power has since come back on (as you can probably tell by me posting this), but the recent outage has caused me to reexamine my dependence on technology and reaffirmed that it is not everything. I am thankful for the amenities and conveniences provided by technology, but life goes on without it. Now, time to get started on those assignments!

Apparently Pretty Dependent…

Prior to this past weekend, I hated technology. I avoided it at all costs. Zoom classes were initially my worst nightmare. Over the last 11 months, however, I learned a lot about technology and how to use it to my advantage. Though I would still try to avoid technology whenever I could, I learned numerous tips and tricks to make it more user-friendly. I also gained a lot of patience for when it would not work the way I wanted it to or if things were downloading slow… or so I thought. As many of you may know, the Portland area lost power on Sunday, February 14th, 2021 around 10 pm. At first, it was your classic power outage: an adventure. My housemates and I were all huddled around a candle making memories. The next morning, the feeling of the adventure was completely over. My house was the same temperature as outside. I could not work on my assignments which were due later that day (fortunately classes were eventually canceled). I could not even watch Netflix or scroll through social media on my day off, because my phone was dead and we had no wifi. I sat in my car for an hour and a half to get my phone charged up to 35%, only to find out my phone service wasn’t good enough to even send an iMessage or respond to emails. I was bored out of my mind, which was not something I was expecting since I did not see myself as someone who spent a lot of time on her phone/laptop. I was very frustrated with my inability to talk on the phone, text, scroll through Instagram, set an alarm, work on homework, check my emails, etc. When my power came back on this morning, I was incredibly grateful to fall back into my normal habits of texting my friends and casually working on my assignments. Needless to say, technology plays a HUGE part in our lives whether we like it or not. When our power is taken away from us, we are all left struggling trying to remember how to stay warm, fed, and entertained.

Who Would’ve Known

Who would’ve known… technology would be my blessing in disguise. When thinking about technology, it is easy to jump to the negatives: the astigmatism it’s causing to our eyes, our shopping addiction, an unhealthy addiction to Tik Tok trends and brown fashion trends. BUT thinking further, there is one thing that technology helped me with: Developing my self awareness and self love.

Image by Robert Kubíček from Pixabay

In the start of quarantine when Tiger King and whipped coffee was all the craze, we all had no choice but to keep ourselves occupied. I spent a lot of time looking in the mirror and reflecting on my life, and it helped me make a big realization- that I was ready for a change.

I decided that since I wasn’t able to do some cardio at the dance studio anymore, I could try Chloe Ting’s famous “Hourglass Body in 40 Days” program. I spent an hour a day on a yoga mat following her videos, and it kept me occupied. This source of technology really helped me gain my confidence and gain control over my body again. Although after those 40 days, the progress was minimal because my already athletic body wasn’t challenged enough. Nevertheless, this made me fall in love with working out and growing my strength. After this, I started to get into weightlifting and it changed my life.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

And I know what you’re probably thinking, how does this relate to technology? Well, if it weren’t for the accessibility of new work out videos paired with social media forcing me to contemplate my body and how much I truly love it. With the goal in mind to better my body, I think I gained something better- a hunger for growth and a new sense of self-confidence. I am able to post my workouts on my social media to hopefully inspire people that were in my position to feel encouraged to work out in order to love themselves even more, and I am even able to post pictures on my Instagram of myself that I wouldn’t have even considered before quarantine. Not a direct causality, but I do give lots of credit to technology for helping me get to where I am today.

A Curse That Became A Blessing

Picture of a Woman facetiming

When I think of technology many things come to mind: Instagram, Facetime, Google Meets, Zoom, etc. These are all platforms that I now use on a regular basis but in the last 11 months they went from being my last resort to now being an essential part to almost all aspects of my life. Before the pandemic, I would scroll on Instagram and 20 minutes later a reminder would pop up on my phone and say “hit screen time limit”, I would quickly press “ignore” and continue scrolling. Later I would feel guilty about the hour I just spent looking at a social media platform when I could have been spending time in nature or hanging out with my friends and family. I then would delete the app because I hated “wasting” my time on my phone and would download it again a few weeks later when I got bored. I used to view technology as a curse; it was something that hindered my ability to connect with not only the people right in front of me but the world around me. But since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, that all changed.

Photo of IPhone

In mid-March of 2020 new phrases were coined such as “Facetime dates” or “zooming with friends” or “teamsing with my boss”; phrases that might have not made sense before that time but were life savers during the unprecedented time the world was facing. Technology became an extroverts best friend. Face-timing people became essential to continue friendships, Instagram soon became a means of quarantine entertainment, and Google Meets turned into the platform where I pursued my goals of becoming an educator. All of these things, that once had felt like platforms that took away from being more present in life suddenly became the way in which I lived my life.

After many months filled with Facetimes, Zoom calls and Google meetings I soon came to the conclusion that the thing that used to be a curse in my life, became a huge blessing. While I do still wish I could limit my screen time to 20 minutes a day, the reality is that with technology I have been able to continue doing the things I love, spending time with people I love and working towards my dreams.

Photo Credits:

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

The Nightmare After Technology

Photo credit: “nightmare-before-christmas” by andy z is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Featured photo credit: “Close up person using smartphone” by is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

What’s this? What’s this?

A phone, a smartphone

Oh, look what you can access!

What’s this? what’s this?

A PC, A computer

Who knew what you could do here!

Oh, look over there!

A screen, a screen

Why, aren’t they everywhere!

Oh look!

You can chat with all kinds of people, even those from Spain!

Oh look!

Everything is so well explained

Oh look!

How easy it is to watch that game

that show

that film

Oh dear!

Look how time has gone

On this, I’ve spent way too long

Oh dear!

A crash? A crash?

I was just getting the hang of this!

Oh, listen.

Don’t you hear the silence?

So quiet

I’m not sure I like it.

This can’t be good.

Oh, dear.

How Lebron James Gave Me a New Look on Technology (No Seriously)

Lebron James shooting a Jump shot

If you knew me in high school you may have heard me spouting off about Lebron James, heard me try and convince people to call me “Domlebron”, or you may have even muted me on twitter come NBA playoffs. If you didn’t, you probably have still heard me talk about Lebron James. Now while most of the times it can be rather annoying, I have found some serious relevance within him, especially when it comes to technological use.

“Dennis Rodman (1997)” by iccsports is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

As the first born child in my family, I was exposed to technology and personally electronics pretty late into my childhood. I didn’t even regularly start watching TV until middle school. Because of this when I got my first cell phone I was mesmerized. Even more so when I had a smartphone with web capabilities. This lead to me having an increasingly unproductive and unhealthy relationship with technology. I relied heavily on social media to fill my time and build relationships, as well as a distraction from my homework and other tasks.

Around this time Lebron was on his dominant eight straight finals run. He would do something that he called “Zero Dark Thirty-23”, essentially meaning that he deleted all social media applications off of his cell phone, or even go without his phone for the entirety of the playoffs. When asked about it he said that not only did it block out negative fan interactions, but it also did wonders for his focus. Without his cellphone to emit its untimely buzzes and beeps, he was able to commit himself fully to putting his team on his back and getting them to the finals.

Now my mom is a teacher. Like many teachers, she has a pretty good handle on what is taking her students focus; even more so for her own children. She had suggested to me that maybe it makes sense for me to put my phone up for periods of the day for me to enhance my productivity and lessen the impact that screens had on my eyes. Now I’m in high school and listening to my mom was considered pretty uncool…. Until Lebron had the same opinion as her.

A picture of Dom and his Mom

Junior year of high school, I decided to take a stab at Lebron’s way of doing things. I would take deliberate breaks from my phone during the time I was doing homework, preparing for sports games, and on specific times during the weekend. It worked wonders! To this day I still subscribe to this idea of putting technology away to accomplish work that I set out to do. This came out especially during the recent stint in quarantine. I had to work to remain diligent to get my work done, and resist the temptation of my cell phone. Lebron’s mode of work paid of for me however, as I was able to convince myself to get work done on one screen (my laptop) and put the other screen down for a while.