Friday December 19, 2003

100 Years of Technology

[This question comes courtesy of The Listening Post, a blog meme inspired by scifi & fantasy.]

This week's question was inspired by something many of us dread — a fatal hard disk crash and the loss of most of the data thereon. Ouch!

How dependent are you on technology? If all of the technology invented in the past 100 years disappeared tomorrow, how would you react? What do you think your life would be like without technology?

I am very dependent on technology. Professionally, I am a programmer, webspinner, and technical writer. Much of what I do every day wouldn't exist without technology created in the past 40 years, let alone the past century!

In my day-to-day activities I use (and depend upon) not only my computer but Caller ID, ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), timed and metered traffic lights, the 911 emergency system, satellite weather forecasting, and the wide-spread availability of electricity. Without much thinking about them, I use Velcro, Post-It notes, rollerball pens, an ergonomic desk chair, home refrigeration, forced-air household heating, ice cubes, dimmer switches, and atomic clocks. I expect to be able to buy tomatoes and many other fruits and vegetables in December. I depend upon my home telephone as well as my cellular phone connecting me whenever and wherever I desire. I depend upon advances in pharmaceutical technology to discover new drugs and bring them to market, affordably and in sufficient quantity.

100 years is a long time. In 1903 we had telephones - but not to the extent we have them today. Wireless, but no radio. No television. No "talking pictures" (certainly no "home movies or DVD). No Interstate highway system. I had a flu shot this year as I have had one most years; the Great Influenza Epidemic was in 1918 (only 85 years ago).

At least, if all the technology of the past 100 years suddenly disappeared tomorrow, I would still be able to see... to some extent. Eyeglasses, even bifocals, were available more than 100 years ago. Optical lenses are one of the the most important inventions for my life.

100 Years of Technology - posted by Vicki at Fri, 19 Dec, 10:40 Pacific | Comments (2)

Tuesday December 16, 2003

Caroling, caroling

[One more meme, this time from Sunday Brunch]
It's either the most loved or most loathed ritual of the Christmas season: the Christmas carol. (Inspired by Bonnie having "ding dinga ding, ding dinga ding, ding dinga ding" or also known as "Carol of the Bells" stuck in her head.)
(And now, so do I. Gee, thanks Bonnie! :-)
  1. Do you have a favorite Christmas carol? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite?
  2. What is the one Christmas carol you absolutely can't stand to hear?
  3. Have you ever gone out caroling?
  4. If you had to pick a character from Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", which character would you be?
  5. How many Christmas recordings do you own?

  1. Do you have a favorite Christmas carol? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite?
    I'm partial to Silent Night. It's pretty and I like the story behind the writing of the song.

  2. What is the one Christmas carol you absolutely can't stand to hear?
    Only One? Probably Jingle Bell Rock although there are many of its ilk that I cannot stand. But these aren't "carols"; they're just songs played at Christmastime.

  3. Have you ever gone out caroling?
    Not that I can recall; perhaps when I was in elementary school / Sunday School...

  4. If you had to pick a character from Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", which character would you be?
    If I had to pick? Say to play the role? The Ghost of Christmas Past appeals to me somehow. Or Mrs. Cratchett, perhaps. In the Muppet Christmas Carol my favorite character is the little boy (played by Bean Bunny) Scrooge accosts from his window on Christmas morning.

  5. How many Christmas recordings do you own?
    Several dozen, nearly all instrumentals. A few years ago my sister bought both of us Percy Faith's Music for Chsirtmas on CD; we'd both grown up listening to this on LP vinyl for many Christmases!

I'm almost afraid to mention that one of my favorite Christmas songs is by Tom Lehrer...

Caroling, caroling - posted by Vicki at Tue, 16 Dec, 00:05 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday December 14, 2003

Where is home?

(Yet another meme, this one from the Saturday Slant.)
They say home is where the heart is. So where is your heart? Are you lucky enough to be living in the place that you've also wanted to, or is your heart beckoned to somewhere else? Perhaps your soulmate lives elsewhere, and home is with him or her. Maybe the mysteries of Shri Lanka or the romance of Tuscany hold for you the promise of home. Where is your home? Why is it home? How did you get there, or how do you intend to get there? Where will you hang that "Home Sweet Home" plaque, and why that place?

Home is where Rich and the cats are. Wherever we are together, that is home.

For the past 19 years, home has been the San Francisco Bay Area. For 15+ years, home has been our current location in San Bruno, a smallish town/suburb on the SF Peninsula. Home is due west of SFO, on one edge of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The weather is perfect; we're close to both Nature and Civilization. We're close to enough shopping areas for our needs, the kinds of restaurants we like. We get raccoons in our back yard at night.

This isn't a perfect house but it's a good house, well-made, well-insulated, large enough for our needs, on a nice lot with a back garden and trees behind us. We're just far enough from the neighbors; we're private enough. Location, location, and location are all nearly perfect.

We've talked about were we would go if we went somewhere else. Maybe the North Coast. But we always come back to agreeing that where we are is pretty darn nice. If it's not perfect, it's the next best thing.

Where is home? - posted by Vicki at Sun, 14 Dec, 12:51 Pacific | Comments (0)

Animal Senses

Yes, it's another meme! :-) Ever since I found the Memes List I've been exploring. This one is from Saturday Senses, a weekly meme that posts triggers to each of the five senses to bring up your memories. This week's subject is pets / animals.
[sight]:: Which was the most amazing animal you have ever seen live? Describe the experience.
[taste]:: If you eat meat, do you ever think about the animal you are eating?
[smell]:: Does it bother you or have you ever refrained from getting a pet because of smell (its own or its 'subproducts')?
[touch]:: Which animal did you most enjoy peting, holding or touching for whatever reason?
[hearing]:: If you have pets do they make any sounds? Does it bother you?

Answers

[sight]:: Which was the most amazing animal you have ever seen live? Describe the experience.
We met a monitor lizard at a reptile shop. Huge thing, scaly, didn't mind being petted. Weird.

[taste]:: If you eat meat, do you ever think about the animal you are eating?
On rare occasions. I simply can't eat rabbit anymore, for this reason. Cows, chickens, and sheep are "farmed" and I tend not to let that bother me. But if I had to "bring down my own food"? I might go veg, then.

[smell]:: Does it bother you or have you ever refrained from getting a pet because of smell (its own or its 'subproducts')?
It doesn't bother me and no, I only refrain from certain types of pet because they aren't my kind of thing. We keep the litter box clean enough that it doesn't smell at all. Personally, I think kitty fur smells like cinnamon and other exotic spices.

[touch]:: Which animal did you most enjoy petting, holding or touching for whatever reason?
I got to touch a Chinchilla once. They have the softest fur imaginable. Cats, of course, are my all time favorite for "petting, holding or touching for whatever reason" (which I do, frequently).

[hearing]:: If you have pets do they make any sounds? Does it bother you?

Our cats talk. They purr, chirp, yodel, mew, Mwrp, yell, and Beep. It doesn't bother me. We have a good relationship. I think cats should talk; I love for my cats to talk to me.
Animal Senses - posted by Vicki at Sun, 14 Dec, 10:40 Pacific | Comments (1)