Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Behind the curve

Technologically speaking. We Aardvarks have been inhabiting the nether regions of the technology curve for years. A couple of years back we leaped to just within one standard deviation (as opposed to a sub-standard deviation? Hey, just be careful what kind of deviant you call me), but have since gleefully skated down the slippery slopes into oblivion once more.

Number of televisions owned by the Aardvarks: 1

I bought my first television in 1998. That's right, 1998. I bought my first VCR at the same time. Lest you think I'm a total cultural pagan, I did OWN a TV and VCR prior to that, I'd just never had to buy one. Our first TV was a little black and white 9" set that someone gave us shortly after we were married. Hello? Newlyweds! We DON'T NEED a stinkin' TV. But a TV we got nonetheless. That one hung around for several years until someone gave us a small color set, which lasted until somebody gave us an old, big (tubes!) console that was on its last legs. About the time that one gave up the ghost, a coworker asked if I would like a 19" TV and a VCR. They were in her son's room (he was about 7) and he was in big trouble, what with his ADHD and poor school work and acting out and all, so they were getting rid of his TV and VCR. That was 1993. I owned only one videotape at the time. And it had no sound. It was a two year old tape from my wife's sonogram when she was pregnant with the Youngest Aardvark Child (YAC). I promptly took it home and hooked it up and watched 15 minutes of soundless wonder.

1998 was a good year financially and so for Christmas, the family got a new 27" TV and a new VCR to replace the dying one and a new entertainment center to hold it all. In the living room. Where the whole family can watch (or NOT if somebody has to practice their piano). But no cable and no dish. That stuff costs money.

Number of video game systems owned by the Aardvarks: 1

My wife had told me for 14 years that I could buy a video game system when I wanted a divorce. She was joking. I think. By Christmas of 1999, I had finally worn her down. It started by renting a couple of games and a system from Blockbuster for the weekend. After we'd done that a couple of times, I told her it would make more sense financially to just buy the thing outright. I must have caught her at a weak moment 'cause she went for it. Christmas of 1999 saw the addition of a Nintendo 64 to the Aardvark entertainment center. It's still there, but not used nearly as much anymore. (Dad, why don't we get an X-Box or a PS-2?) To show you how much Mrs. Aardvark has mellowed, a few of the games we've purchased have been for HER!

Number of cellular phones owned by the Aardvarks: 1

This phone was originally purchased in 1997, but we replaced it in 2001. It was for Mrs. Aardvark to have in case of emergencies (or in case she had a really burning question that needed to be answered RIGHT NOW! Like, "I'm at Sam's and they have the extended DVD for LotR - TT. Should I go ahead and pick it up?") and we're still on the SAME pricing plan we originally signed up with - $13.50 per month and 13.5 cents per minute with the first minute incoming free. Our cell phone bill is usually about $20 per month. I could get a lot more minutes, but they would wind up costing me a lot more dollars. The number of phones and the corresponding plan will change when the EAC gets her license and a job.

Number of DVD players owned by the Aardvarks: 1

This was the family Christmas gift for 2002. A concession to the death of VHS (oh, it's dead - it just doesn't know it yet).

Number of computers owned by the Aardvarks: 2

The purchase of our first computer was when the Aardvarks made their biggest leap forward. I Purchased a 486 DX2 66 machine about three months before the introduction of the Pentium chipset. BUT I WAS CUTTING EDGE for three months! Ran DOS (I forget which version) and Windows 3.1.1. Upgraded it over the years with more memory (32 meg - oooh, aaah) and a bigger hard drive. Didn't buy a new machine until February 2001 (PIII 650 - I think, CD-RW, DVD), and that only because the kids needed the internet more and more for school and the old 28K modem wasn't going to cut it, AND I refused to spend any more money on that old machine. It still gets used occasionally, mostly if the other computer is occupied or someone gets the urge to run one of the old DOS based games (that run too fast on the new machine - XCOM anyone?), but it's relegated to the converted garage room (back in the corner under the dust). I am delaying the purchase of a new computer until the EAC is ready to head off to college, much to the chagrin of the YAC who desperately wants me to buy a 3-D graphics card (for the games SHE wants). Nope. Not gonna do it.

Number of CD players owned by the Aardvarks: 4

Every member of the family now has a CD player. However, we didn't own one (at home) until about 1997.

I had a Palm III for a while (a couple of years), until I dropped in on a tile floor, but that was a PRIZE not a purchase. One of those drop-your-business-card-into-the-jar promos at a convention I attended. First I knew I had won was when the mail room brought it to my office. I had to take the accompanying letter home to prove to the wife that I hadn't gone off the deep end and gone out and purchased one. (Would I do that? What? Why are you looking at me that way?)

Anyway, we're behind the curve, but SOMEBODY has to be, don't they? (unless they live in Lake Wobegon) All in all, I have to say, it's still a pretty good life.

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