June 24, 2010

Old School Technology and Reminiscing

I found a rummaging opportunity today while I was returning books at the public library.  The multi-purpose room was full of discards for sale - particularly books-on-tape and VHS tapes.  There were boxes of each since no one borrows these anymore.  I no longer own a VCR, but our 2004 car came with both a cassette and CD player, which has been mighty handy on road-trips.  We have no trips planned for the immediate future, but we enjoy listening to audiobooks while driving to our hometown and back (6 hours one way).  And I actually prefer tapes for this; one thanksgiving we borrowed a CD of The Da Vinci Code which was scratched and kept skipping.  Very hard to keep track of the story that way.  At least you can use a piece of scotch tape on cassettes!  So I thought I'd better stock up on the books-on-tape.
 I got some "Can-Lit" with The Divine Ryans and Oryx and Crake, a short story collection by Jeffrey Archer (we've listened to other collections of his and have enjoyed them), and a novel I've never heard of before called Witch Child.
After purchasing them I started thinking about cassettes and wondered if young people would ever get back into tapes, like records have made a come-back (probably not).  But for myself, the switch from records to tapes seemed so cutting-edge back when I was a kid.  I remember when my older sister came home with her first Walkman (and cassette of Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just want to have Fun), and how I thought it was so cool that it was PORTABLE and that you could listen to music anywhere with it.  Now compared to ipod nanos, they seem gigantic and cumbersome.  Check out this poster of Hus's that we have in our laundry room...
 Having grown up in the era of cassettes, dates me as well.  I often slip into the verb, "taped" instead of "recorded," i.e. "I taped a movie on the PVR."  And I've been known to (embarrassingly) call a personal sound system a "ghetto-blaster" which I suppose reflects something about the popular culture of the time in which it came out....check out this classic video clip...

I can't imagine how much that guy's arm hurts after hauling that thing all over New York!  Portable? Definitely not! 

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