Friday, January 23, 2009

Things That Amaze Me

The Internet There was a time when finding information that you wanted was either time-consuming (i.e. going to the library) or expensive (buying a book or magazine or newspaper) or ridiculously inconvenient (finding the right person to ask) NOW you can go onto the internet and find out just about anything you ever wanted, plus a whole lot of stuff you didn't. Even after years of taking it for granted that I can go online and just....find what I want, right in my own home, without paying hardly anything. I'm still kind of amazed that it can happen.

Cell phones As I was texting Thing 1 this afternoon when I was picking her up from an exam, I again marveled at the idea that I can just carry a phone around with me all the time. Unbelievable! It sends a signal all the way into space, and back down to any other phone in the world and it's totally mobile and it takes only seconds to do so.

USB sticks This little bit of plastic and metal that is the size of a quarter of a Kit Kat bar can hold an astonishing amount of information; words and ideas and pictures and movies and entire books and music, and you plug it into a compatible place and boom, there it all is! I am dazzled every time I see it happen.

Chocolate Chocolate is the least likely thing to ever occur, if you ask me, and it's kind of wonderful that it ever happened at all, let alone that it's as ordinary as it is. Somewhere some kajillion years ago, some Aztec said, "hey, why don't we take this rather unremarkable looking berry, we'll roast it and bash it around and mix it with other stuff and it will be awesome!" Then, for the longest time, chocolate was a rare and expensive treat that most people only tasted a couple of times in their lives. Now I can go out and buy the stuff almost anywhere, and for a pittance, too.

Digital cameras When Thing 1 was born, we had a crappy camera that took lousy pictures. (I sold it at a garage sale for 5 dollars, and the guy that bought it asked if it took nice pictures. "No", I answered, "that's why I'm selling it for 5 bucks." He bought it anyway.) We had to make sure we had enough film all the time, and that the film was properly loaded, lest we come back from her baptism or first birthday party with all the pictures glommed onto one useless frame. Don't even get me started on when you used to have to have flash cubes. NOW, it's frigging amazing that, not only do you not have to worry about wasting precious film, you can see the picture right after you take it, and decide if you want another one or not. It's phenomenal.

Photoshop and photoprinting Again, you used to have to pay through the nose for photo re-touching and photo printing, and with Photoshop and a printer, I can do it myself at home, for almost nothing.

Knitting and crochet. Lest you think my mind is only blown away by modern technology, rest assured that I'm just as impressed with stuff that's been around for a long time. Knitting and crocheting is basically the process of taking string, twisting it around with some specialized sticks, and ending up with actual clothing. I'm always kind of astounded when my ball of yarn transforms itself into something useful.

Strawberries in January. I live in a place that is currently covered in snow (and plenty of it) , and yet, I can walk into almost any grocery store anywhere and pick up a carton of fresh, ripe strawberries, and be kind of picky about which ones I choose, too. I am thrilled every time I do so.

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