Today I’m writing what a real blog, I mean the kind of narrative on life and its discontents (or contents) that blogs were originally created for. Maybe some folks write blogs when they are in a blissful state, dunno, I probably don’t read those kind.
Lately, I’ve been playing around with making little videos. I started out wanting a video camera so I could interview women and maybe some men about the subject of abortion and birth control, Planned Parenthood, etc. You know that really radical socialist idea that women might have some say in how or when or why they bring children out of their bodies and into the world?
I recorded a couple of clips but got shy of asking the average woman-on-the-street if she had ever had an abortion or might want one. These days a person can get hurt for telling what most women already know that 3 out of 5 women have had one, 3 out of 4 or just most of women I know?
Then I started carrying around this baby camcorder in my purse. It’s about the size of a thick credit card. The videos and the videographer are pretty amateurish but we were having fun.
Now, I am a person of a certain age, I’m a Boomer-sounds nicer than I’m almost an official senior-yikes! My kids are grown and gone; and while I’m old enough to have a teenage grandchild, my kids don’t seem to be thinking about providing me with any grandchildren at all. That’s relevant because without an adolescent around, you should probably just give up on technology right now.
I’ve always been hopeless with electronic things and cannot really see all the little crappy symbols, words, arrows, etc. that appear in the various nooks and crannies of the toolbars, dashboards, or whatever they’re calling them today. It may be that I’m ADD, because I can’t even take a class as I space out a few minutes into instruction; and most things that I’ve learned, I’ve learned by intuiting the process. I don’t use recipes, I don’t sew anything that I can’t visualize in my own head first-I even mix my colors when painting without having any idea which ones I added and how much. I’ve run out of paint and remixed the colors and had them come out the same so this approach usually works for me.
Ha, Anca at Tech Liminal helped me set up my blog or that wouldn’t even be happening. Geez, I just had to enter that sentence 3 times to get it in the next paragraph. I am not sure if it’s just me because every time I told one of my aging friends that I wanted to start a blog, they told me they heard it was easy. “Really,” I’d say, “then come over and help me,” after which they would blanch and run away as fast as their blown-out knees and bad backs could take them.
Actually, it is me because typing was one of the few courses I was ever in danger of flunking in high school. The other was Home Ec, couldn’t ever remember to wear my damn hair net; and you might not think it, but Home Ec teachers tend to be very authoritarian. I think if you have ever read anything I’ve written- nuff said about how well I handle authority figures.
So I was amazed when I was able to put together a few short videos and even added music, clipped and cropped, played with the transitions, titles, credits and surprise endings. It was my little artistic venture.
I used to paint, make mosaics, make stuff from recycled items, collages, have stenciled my front patio to look like a brick path, and there’s my car which most people remember once they’ve seen it. It is not yet an art car, but I’m working on it. However, arthritis has its drawbacks and since it has lodged mostly in my fingers, it’s so bad that I have to ice them after even a short stint of weeding.
Now I’ve hit the wall and find that my internet and electronic world is closing in on me. No, it’s not that I think I spend too much time on it, I know I do. But since I’m only partially employed, so what? It’s that I just can’t keep up with the levels of knowledge that are required by each new level of technological development. It’s too much!
The other day, for instance, walking with my friend and her teenage daughter, I wondered if I could turn off the sound on my newest little camcorder-the one that has just brought me down-since the wind was blowing mightily off the Lake and I had learned that filming in any wind will sound like a hurricane in playback.
My friend said, “Here give it to Raquel.” So I did and she turned off the sound in an instant. So, ok, then it took her a few more minutes to show me how to do that. The rub comes the next time I go to use it as you know I will forget that it’s off, worse yet, will I even remember how to turn it on again?
So I have made videos with this damn new camcorder that have to be converted to different files before being downloaded, excuse me uploaded (that difference is not intuitive) to youtube but not to vimeo which then doesn’t always-but sometimes-seems to be able to make it through my email program so that someone besides me can see it!
I’ve learned that tech support for anything electronic is almost non-existent-no phone numbers are available anymore or if you get someone on the phone, they will always want to levy another charge OR worst of all, you can’t register the blasted thing without finding out the serial number which requires a mind-numbing search of its own.
Then I head over to the internets, as my people are prone to call them/it, and make a query about how to work around the problems caused by my limited knowledge. Sometimes I miraculously grasp the solution, sometimes I play with it until I find one, but frequently I’m hit with a language barrier that I cannot surmount.
“The files for bladeblah have to be converted or down/uploaded by attaching a dps-unlv (no, part of that’s a basket ball team, disgraced, I think), after looking in the upper right hand corner of the page you just closed where the telltale instruction or serial number to the gizmo or gizmet you haven’t yet purchased/downloaded resides.
All your troubles lie just a free download away OR alternatively a computer virus -where all your family heirlooms, your secret longings, and your official self – lies that same download away- gone in a flash (and I don’t mean drive). But that software you previously downloaded and pay paled for twice at least, that’s supposed to provide security (didn’t the 60s prove to us womenfolk that security was a thing of the past), turns around, electronically, and says to you, “Do you know this guy/program/download?” That’s why I thought I hired you, you think to yourself, while backing slowly away from your desk before your finger twitches and everything inside your computer explodes.
While I was doing all this, a truly elderly friend called to tell me about her difficulty getting onto her facebook page, bless her for trying, and she ended up in password hell. It might have been less frustrating trying to get into Tahrir Square during the revolution than it is to get out of password hell. Oh well, you wouldn’t have known about the revolution anyway unless you had already conquered password hell.
Right now I’m stymied and am turning to something I still know how to do, except of course, for the typing part. I will try and post the videos I’ve made (2 of them are somehow already on my blog) so someone can see the hours I’ve put in and what fun it all was during the brief period I imagined I could handle this new world.
Now, I’ll just go read a book and relax awhile. Let me see, my kids got me a Kindle for Mother’s Day maybe I’ll see if I can upload a new mystery……don’t you know this is just another trick, another bit of payback from those guys you punished by making them clean their rooms? Without them or a small child lurking inside the packing crate to set it up for you, you may find yourself languishing permanently in password hell. Haven’t I suffered enough?