24 February 2014 @ 06:12 am
FINALLY recovering from three week cold--last week was the worst of all. For a couple days I couldn't even read, my eyes were so watery. And I am trying to catch up on LJ, though I may have to give up.

Not nostalgia, but a reflection on the material evidence of how our lives change.

What are your "things"?
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
asakiyume: the sourceasakiyume on February 24th, 2014 02:35 pm (UTC)
So sorry to hear about the cold; glad you're on the mend. The news is telling me some rain will come to you soon! It won't dispel the drought, but every little bit helps….
Sherwood Smithsartorias on February 24th, 2014 02:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, especially as here, it hasn't even been measurable, though there was a good gullywasher farther east of us. One day.
Blair MacGregorblairmacg on February 24th, 2014 02:52 pm (UTC)
Very glad you're feeling better! Those forever-colds are exhausting!
whswhs: pic#67542548whswhs on February 24th, 2014 03:39 pm (UTC)
When we heard that broadcast television was going to change over from analog to digital-only, we bought a new digital set, half a year or so in advance, and got an indoor antenna for it. Then the changeover occurred, and suddenly we could no longer watch the final season of Lost: the signal strength had dropped off so far that the station didn't register. By the time we moved, we had fallen out of the habit of trying to watch anything broadcast, and didn't set up for it. We still have the set: It's on chorale's desk, connected both to her Mac and to a Blu-ray player (rotating it 30° makes it comfortably visible from our "living room" space).

It's also worth noting that the set we got, which was the biggest one we could fit into the entertainment unit we had then (we disposed of it in the move), is now a little below the low end of readily available screen sizes.

I'm currently watching Agents of SHIELD—on the monitor on my desk, via Hulu, a week after broadcast.


When I started out freelancing, I got a lot of manuscripts shipped to my apartment via UPS, FedEx, or DHL, and shipped them back the same way when I was done. Now I hardly ever see a physical manuscript. Work comes to me online, and I rarely touch hard copy.


I remember back in the 1970s or early 1980s buying an electronic typewriter. It could go back and erase what it had typed! And one day it needed repair, and it came back and had all ten electronic functions from the higher-end model, not just the four it had when I bought it. That must have been in the 1980s, as I think chorale told me that there had probably been a connection that disabled those functions, and the repair tech had forgotten to restore it. (That's classic multipart pricing, like theaters charging less admission for kids, but it seemed oddly counterintuitive that the manufacturer would put in one extra wire and charge -$200 for it!) But I haven't touched an actual typewriter any time this century.


In a different domain entirely, I remember groceries in the 1950s, and choices of foods. And a whole lot of what I eat now simply would not have been possible then—or if it was, I never heard of it. Brown rice pasta? Sauce made with turkey-based Italian sausage? Curry cooked in light coconut milk, made with my own choice of spices rather than with "curry powder"? (I suppose there were places to buy fenugreek back then, but it wasn't widespread.) Dijon mustard? Or chorale's favorite snack of Greek yogurt? I grew up in a household where the actually used spices were salt, pepper, and occasional cinnamon.


On the other hand, a home furnishing that I haven't seen in many years, and don't miss, is the ashtray.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on February 24th, 2014 04:26 pm (UTC)
My big two purchases in the seventies were my bookcase waterbed and my Selectric, with the correcting function and the fonts. How futuristic! I loved that thing. (I think we still have it.)

Oh, yes. Ashtrays everywhere, naugahyde, plastic covered lamps yellow with nicotine stains, and desperately ugly in design and color. HOW I loathed the fifties even as a kid. The world smelled so bad and was so ugly.

I still don't know how to make Hulu work, but I don't watch tons of TV--I only watch when exercising, and Netflix pretty much keeps me going, with occasional excursions into DVDs when I know I will rewatch.
Nonny Blackthornenonnycat on February 27th, 2014 11:22 am (UTC)
I grew up on computers, but when I visited my Grandma George when I was 13 for a few weeks, she did not have a computer (and this was the 90s so laptops weren't really a thing that a teen would have). She had one of those electronic typewriters with the white-out and I thought it was the coolest thing. Now that I'm in the midst of rewriting a novel start to finish... I'm very glad to have a computer. LOL.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on February 27th, 2014 02:14 pm (UTC)
Heh! Oh, yes. Retyping stories was labor-intensive world. And while that is a good thing for some writers, I had so much trouble with my dyslexia that it was just a chore for me: I was too involved with watching the single letters I was not doing a last polish.
ethelmayethelmay on March 2nd, 2014 01:11 am (UTC)
My dad once tried making his own curry powder, and for decades after we had the little jars full of odd things like fenugreek that I would take down and sniff every so often. I use curry paste now, not powder, so still have never bought fenugreek for anything except tea, trying to get my milk supply up when my son was little. (Fenugreek is a galactagogue. It worked, I think. Either that or I was worried over nothing. At any rate he gained just fine.)
Sherwood Smithsartorias on March 2nd, 2014 01:28 am (UTC)
whswhswhswhs on March 2nd, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
For many years I made no use at all of curry powder; instead I seasoned my curries with various spices, often selected partly by color—for example, my red curries had chili powder and coriander as major ingredients. We have a bottle of fenugreek, and when we run out I grind more from the seeds.

More recently we were given a bottle of high-end yellow curry (it contains quite a lot of saffron, as well as turmeric), and I've been using that. But it really feels odd not to be picking individual spices. On the other hand, it doesn't bother me to use garam masala, which is also a mix, so I'm just being inconsistent. Even so, I wouldn't premake curry powder(s) if I were doing my own; it's more fun to put in the individual spices.
Queen of the Skiesqueenoftheskies on February 24th, 2014 04:29 pm (UTC)
So sorry that cold was so rotten. Glad to hear you're improving. My sons have both had that. Took Mark several weeks to kick it and Stephen is still fighting it.

Loved your nostalgia post. Brought back many memories. :)
Sherwood Smithsartorias on February 24th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
Fighting Crime with a Giant Dandelion Since 2013: Libellula juliapameladean on February 24th, 2014 07:34 pm (UTC)
What I remember is how difficult access was to books and music. If you couldn't afford to buy a record, you just had to wait til somebody on the radio decided to play that song you were obsessed with. If you missed an episode of "Star Trek," that was it until summer reruns, and they did not rerun every show, and after that it was simply gone. Just gone. Eventually things went into syndication, but if they were run after bedtime or before school got out, you were still out of luck, however tantalized. Books came from the library and somebody else might have checked them out. If the library decided to get rid of one of your favorites, you might find it at the library sale, but there was no way of discovering what was going on. Everything was just out of reach, except when it suddenly appeared before you if you were lucky and paying attention.

Sherwood Smithsartorias on February 24th, 2014 08:24 pm (UTC)
Yes! Yes! Yes! And writing longhand was so much faster and easier than the laborious effort of a manual typewriter . . .
thistle in greythistleingrey on February 25th, 2014 07:04 am (UTC)
The dub-from-radio workaround was true for me into the early 1990s. Wow, I had forgotten about that.
Chiara Castelnuovo-McKenzie: young Chiaracmcmck on February 24th, 2014 09:13 pm (UTC)
Reaching the age of fifteen and finally being able to look in a mirror without seeing a stranger!
Sherwood Smithsartorias on February 24th, 2014 09:34 pm (UTC)
That is awesome!
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on February 24th, 2014 09:47 pm (UTC)
I used to walk home from school (it was over a mile each way) by the town Library, and drop off the books I had read and pick up new ones.

My Dad and Stepmom had a big color tv in a console, and it had a remote channel changer! But you could drop your keys on the kitchen counter and do all the same functions at random.

I can remember being taught not to play with matches, but all the tricks to lighting cigarettes with a lighter.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on February 24th, 2014 09:49 pm (UTC)
We were never allowed to touch my dad's lighter. I used to be fascinated by the blue flame.

We didn't get a color TV until I was 18, in 1969. Wow, I had not known that Wizard of Oz had a color section!
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on February 24th, 2014 09:54 pm (UTC)
My Grandparents had color tv, I want to say pre 1962.

Just the magic of a lighter, plus knowing where the spare flints were and how to refill the fluids. Just Magic.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on February 24th, 2014 09:57 pm (UTC)
Heh! I still have no idea how to use a lighter. I never dared touch my dad's. Dangerous fascination.
ethelmayethelmay on March 2nd, 2014 01:13 am (UTC)
I didn't know that there were different-colored shirts on Star Trek until I saw reruns at my grandmother's house. They still look funny to me.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on March 2nd, 2014 01:28 am (UTC)
thistle in greythistleingrey on February 25th, 2014 07:04 am (UTC)
Glad you're feeling better!
Sherwood Smithsartorias on February 25th, 2014 01:10 pm (UTC)
negothicknegothick on February 25th, 2014 06:39 pm (UTC)
Public telephones. I used to know the location of every pay phone in my home town. Now they're all gone.

Pay toilets (much happier to see THEM gone!)

Public Outdoor Drinking fountains (or bubblers. . .). Yes, I'm sure they were unsanitary. But they were widely available and you didn't have to carry a bottle of water around.

Kids playing outside. I was one of them, on the same street where I now live. I never see kids outside anywhere, though I know there are at least a few in this neighborhood.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on February 25th, 2014 08:26 pm (UTC)
Yes to them all!
Ashni: lightningashnistrike on March 7th, 2014 08:26 pm (UTC)
That last varies a lot by neighborhood - one of the things I like about ours is that kids over about 8 do play outside - and walk to and from school by themselves.

Sherwood Smithsartorias on March 7th, 2014 08:37 pm (UTC)
That is awesome. I feel kind of sorry for those kids whose lives are scheduled for them, driven everywhere in gigantic SUVs.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )