Monday, December 19, 2016

Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?

...or when the electricity went off?

What would today's society do in a non-electrified world? Oh, some would cope, but I expect most of those would be the older crowd - those who understand how to live without cell phones and internet, or instant everything. Consider just how much of our life is dependant on electricity. Fridges, stoves, cookers of several types, coffee pots, hot water, radio and TV, lights, education, workplaces ... today, nearly all of them depend on power (okay, there are some appliances that run off gas or propane but just as many homes run electric appliances).

Ditto Machine (Wikimedia)
What got me started on this track wasn't a power outage (but in 2003 we went through a 3 day total outage for most of Ontario and bordering provinces, leading right down into the US) but a photo of an old Gestetner machine on Facebook, with the question "do you know what this is".

I recognized it immediately because in our high school's office (back in the 1970s) sat the exact same model, and I used to have to "work" in our high school office on my lunch hour. In our business dept (that's where students learned stuff like typing and Short Hand and general office stuff  they had a "Ditto" machine (a little different than the Gestetner) ... I used to run that one too, and type up lessons to run off.

Overhead Projector (Wikimedia)
When the power was off, school didn't stop. There wasn't any need to. Typing could still be done; lessons and tests could still be printed; windows opened to let in fresh air; and, teachers taught. There were very few things needed beyond the text books and blackboards for a teacher to get through the lesson. Audio visual equipment consisted of an overhead projector, or film strip machine. Lessons could always be completed without electricity and with no distractions such as cell phones and tablets, there wasn't much else to do but get through the class. More often than not, whether you wanted it to or not, a lot of the information seemed to insinuate itself into your memory.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

What Makes a Grinch Smile?

In our house, even the grinchiest, bah humbug, visitor will crack a smile when this little guy pipes up and sends out his Christmas Greeting.

I got this cutie 3 or 4 years ago at a liquidation outlet, and since then, every year at Christmas he sits on the front staircase to greet our visitors. Even after all this time, he still makes me laugh. By the time he's done his song, most people are laughing, or grinning ear to ear. When I feel a little miserable, I'll turn him on and be smiling by the end. Probably one of my favourite holiday decorations.

When I first got him, I thought my daughter's two Boston Terriers would get a kick out of him ... they loved stuffed things, but you have to watch them because they can destroy one in under a minute. I didn't want them to wreck it, but ... well, the first time we played it the dogs were terrified ... hahaha. It didn't take them long to realize that Santa Dog wasn't coming after them, and once they warmed up to the idea that it was just a toy, well, I had to move him out of reach. Toys = chewing to those two girls, and chewing ends up with a destroyed toy.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pen and Paper ... PenPals of Yore!

Once upon a time, in a time far away ... no, no, no ... not that far of course, but at least 10 or more years ago. Which is long enough in today's technology. Some younger folks will think that's ancient times, but it's still pretty fresh in my mind.

A note card with stamped envelope, pen and a pair of glasses.
I was thinking this morning how I miss communicating with "real" written letters. Oh ... very true that instant communication through email or messengers is, well, "instant", and convenient in most cases, but it really isn't the same. Most likely a lot of the folks under 30 won't understand this yearning for the "letters on paper".

I used to have a dozen penpals all over the world. I guess that started in my late 20s. Looking for others to learn about their countries and lifestyles first hand from someone who lived there. Today of course, this is possible through many websites and blogs, but there is something unique about getting a real letter in the mail. It was almost like having a friend arrive at your door for a good chin-wag and a coffee.

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