Saturday, October 14, 2006

Old School

Last weekend, when Mr. Whoo and I went to the concert in nearby University City, we got a painful reminder of our advancing age. The concert was held on the campus of the local University, therefore there were lots of college students in attendance. We usually scan the crowd in hopes that we are not "those old people" at every concert we attend. (We have this secret fear that the younger set is whispering "Look at those old married people! How do they know about CoolBand? Maybe their kids listen to the band." We also have a secret hope that we, at least, look like cool older people, attending such concerts!) Luckily for us, there was an eclectic mix of bands at this showcase, so we were not even close to the oldest people at the venue. As I mentioned previously, we were right in the third row, center. We had arrived super early (a leftover compulsion from my groupie days) and the show was general seating, so getting there early paid off in fantastic seats. Since we were seated nearly an hour before the concert was scheduled to begin, we settled in for a favorite past time, people watching. The thing that impressed me immediately was how the college age crowd is consistently "plugged in." All around us, kids were texting on phones, playing games on PDAs, hell, maybe even blogging! In the row directly in front of us, there was a group of 4 friends, and one guy was showing his friends pics and videos of a recent football game on his phone. This is just so crazy to me! Then, a bit later, the same guy was playing Tetris on the self same phone. His buddy leaned over and said, "Oh, yeah, I haven't played that game since I had a GameBoy. You know, one of the original ones, with the *huge* game cards, before they were in color. Totally old school." My husband and I looked at each other and suppressed howls of laughter. Talking about handheld video games being Old School! It made us go (way) back to what we consider "old school" video games, like Intellivision, Pong, and Atari. Funnier still, we remember when the majority of kids had no access to video games at home, and played "old school" games outside like Freeze Tag! As a kid, I remember thinking that the idea of a "video phone," one where you could see someone on a screen and speak to them at the same time, was so far in the future, I couldn't fathom it. I can't believe how much technology has advanced in the 30-some years of my life. It is amazing how our perspective changes from generation to generation. So what is "old school" to you?


Jawndoejah said...

I also remember feeling that picture phones would be so far in the future I'd never see it. We can see our friends on web cam or picture phone. Even cordless phones were a big deal to me. I recall my grandpa had this old rotary phone that was black, I think they only came in black. It was very heavy, and made a metal swoshing sound with each number dialed (on a dial not push button). I loved to call the time and temperature number the bank had in town. It updated every minute,so I would check in each and every minute!

I also remember how amazing a microwave could be, that a baked potato could be cooked in minutes not in over an hour. We tried cooking eveything in the microwave. I learned, from observing my aunt that you never try to cook eggs with shells in the microwave as they will blow up. She was badly scalded (even in her nose). Microwaves were great but had to be used with caution just like any cooking system.

Anonymous said...

"(We have this secret fear that the younger set is whispering "Look at those old married people! How do they know about CoolBand? Maybe their kids listen to the band." We also have a secret hope that we, at least, look like cool older people, attending such concerts!)"

Dr. Whoo ... the really scary part is thinking you're going to see "CoolBand" and finding out when you get there that there's not a soul under 50 in the audience! *ack!* ;o)

Fat Doctor said...

We loved our Atari - Frogger, Pong, Donkey Kong...oh the happy memories. Our cousins loved that we had it, always thought it was so cool to have Atari!

I remember getting our first air conditioner, our first microwave. I was amazed that you could boil water in only 2 minutes! I thought my parents must be really rich when we moved to a house with central air.

I actually used to fantasize about having a phone in my car, thought it would be so cool to be able to call anyone anytime.

When I was a kid, I used to try to invent things in my head. The best I ever came up with was an airconditioned suit to wear during hot summer days that would make you feel like it was always 74 degrees out.

When I first used the internet, back in about 1990 or 1991, I thought, "OMG! This is cooler than the air conditioned suit!" Back then, it was all dial up and waiting ten minutes for a page to load and there were only four or five sites that really sparked my interest. I never could have imagined the internet being so awesome only 15 years later.

That's it for me.

Labor Nurse, CNM said...

OMG, I'm only 30 and reading out those college kids makes me feel old. Ok... for old school: remember Commodore 64? Or cell phones that weighed 10 lbs and had terrible service? And BTW, I still have my hand held GameBoy with Tetris.

Bo... said...

Aaargh, I feel ancient. The other day I was commenting to my sister that we probably NEVER imagined that there would come a day in the future when our mother would be able to "nag" via email....

medstudentitis said...

I'm only 25 and this makes me feel old! Some of my fond memories were how we were the only ones in our neighbourhood with a computer and it took those huge floppy discs - like 5 inches square and most of the time they would get corrupted so the "awsome" games we had never looked right on our green/black display screen. You had to know dos commands to operate it at all. I remember when the internet came out and we got AOL - I thought it was the best thing ever and spent so much time on the internet that my parents almost killed me when we got the bill. I have frogger on my ipod now and play it all the time. My favorite old school game though is Lemmings...

I never even had a game boy :)

Anonymous said...

I feel REALLY ancient. I remember getting my first calculator in Junior High (that was before it was called "middle school"). It had 5 functions: add, subtract, multiply, divide and percents, and it had cost my dad $45. Back then there was only one phone company, rotary phones were still more common than push-button, music came on large, vinyl disks and the really cool kids had reel-to-reel tape decks. Oh, and I remember when 8-track tapes came out, too. Even then I knew they were awful!

Anonymous said...

Colecovision is "old school" to me...I occasionally play Tetris, too...on my original Nintendo. You know, before the word "Super" preceded the name, before game boy, before controllers that have more than a couple buttons...That's my "newer" game system. Honestly, I think I like those types of games better than the newer ones. They seem too complicated.

dr. whoo? said...

jawndoejah~ I think we had a rotary phone when I was young. I remember dialing it, too! Scary about your aunt getting scalded. I am forever afraid I will accidentally put something metal in the microwave and turn it on.

moof~ Ack, indeed! It is coming, I just know it. Ah well, getting older is better than the alternative! :)

FD~ Atari was the coolest. My favorites were Breakout, Space Invaders, Frogger, and Pitfall. I could totally use that air condtioned suit for the OR, except I'd like to tweak the temp down to 70 degrees. Perpetually hot (temperature hot, not sexy hot) = me. Lord help me when I get to menopause!

labor nurse~ Hi! I had a bag/car phone that plugged into the cigarette lighter for use in "emergencies." It looked just like a regular phone, complete with twisty cord connecting the handset and everything. Amazingly, the reception was fantastic.

abrn~ I hear ya on the nagging via email. Another drawback is that they can usually track you down these days, what with cell phones and pagers. Luckily, we also have caller ID. That is definitely a plus...not that I screen calls or anything. ;)

medstudentitis~ Back in like 5th grade I had one of the coolest games on a big floppy disk like the ones you describe. I can't remember what it was called, but it was all in green/black screen. I never was able to beat it (no cheat codes back then!) It was set in these big trees, you had to learn magic, and had all these different characters to choose from. I hadn't thought of it in years!

I never had a Gameboy, either. We had a regular (original, old school, hee) Nintendo when I was in 7th grade. I rocked at Super Mario Bros.

anon~ I vaguely remember 8 track tapes in my parent's VW bug. We had tons of vinyl records. Instead of DVDs, I listened to Disney records, and read along with books attached to the cover slips. My daughter will never know the concept of waiting for a favorite TV show to start, she will have always had Tivo and video on demand. Crazy.

3carnations~ I agree that games today are way too complicated. For me, I don't want to think too much when I'm trying to unwind. The modern game that I like is Bejeweled. I loved Tetris and when I wanted complexity, I played the original Legend of Zelda. Good times.

Anonymous said...

Old school for me would be the Commodore 64 which was too rich for our blood back then. Atari. Colecovision with Pitfall! Walkman. Rubik's Cube. I can remember riding in a new VW bus listening to John Denver, Olivia Newton-John, and Chicago (the one with Peter Cetera) on an 8-Track. Roller Derby roller skates with metal wheels. Tennis shoe skates-- not the kind that have wheels popping out the bottom but real tennis shoes with skates bolted on the bottom. Batons for Christmas. Farrah Fawcett and Cher fashion dolls.

I'm 37. Sigh.