Saturday, October 24, 2009

Post Modern Greasiness.

Being greasy in the 21 st century can be trying at the best of times. We all certainly enjoy the convenience of computers and the internet. Living without a credit card is akin to being a pariah.

Not so long ago, I booked my hotel for VLV 3 over the phone with nothing but a verbal agreement and paid cash upon my arrival 6 months later.

Facebook, and other such networks, have brought social interaction to a whole new level, but still, in my mind, slightly impersonal. It is, however, a valuable communication tool for upcoming shows and events.

Downloading music has become a passion for some, but remains controversial. ( I won't open that can of worms).

Some of you out there can't imagine life without a computer, and some probably don't even know what that means.

Here are a few random flashbacks to what greasiness was like before computers.


Back in the stone age, we listened to music on these big black discs called records. We would go down to a place called a record store and buy them. We would bring them home and listen to them on this strange, rotating device called a turntable.

Another archaic device that we had was called a cassette deck. You would insert a piece of plastic into it ( called a cassette). You would rotate the large black disc, press a button and the music would be magically transfered to the piece of plastic, producing a shittier, hissing version of the disc.

Your friends would want a copy of the music, so, if you were high tech, you had a double cassette deck. That held two pieces of magic plastic, and it produced an even shittier version of the music disc.

Or you could make a thing called a "mixed tape" You would choose favorite tracks from many black discs. You would play them one at a time and try to hit pause right after the song ended.

It generally took 3 hours to make a one hour mixed tape.

There were also cassette players for cars and you could take the shitty recordings on the road.

If you were really cutting edge, you had a Walkman. It was a portable device about the size of a standard brick. It ate batteries voraciously. So you had to carry a bag to hold 20 or 30 cassettes and spare batteries.

When they first came out, most people would look at you with contempt as you walked around with enormous headphones and a tri-corder like device.


When we had to phone somebody, we had another plastic box called a telephone, these days referred to as a land line.

It was on a table or on a wall and had a wire attached. You could not take it with you. This made for many missed dates, parties and shows.

Then I got my first answering machine. It had little tiny cassettes inside it. It came with a beeper the size of large measuring tape which you had to carry around with you at all times.

If you wanted to know if you had any messages you would need to locate another archaic device called a pay phone.

It was a large box that you stepped into. You shut the door and it was about the size of an average Yaletown condo. Inside the box was a very large telephone.

You would insert some coins into the telephone and dial the number of your land line. When you heard your own voice coming from one of the tiny cassettes, you would have to quickly take the beeper, put it up to the mouth piece and press a button to make it beep.

Then you would hear people saying things like, " is this thing working?"

This gave rise to an annoying trend of people having " clever" messages on their answering machine.

Then came the cel phone. Many years ago, I was asked by a future employer to mind the company phones for two weeks. It was a small branch that did not yet have an office, just one cel phone.

I use the term loosely, because back then they were called car phones and had lots of big black boxes in the trunk of the car.

This particular cel phone had a portable power supply. It was literally the size of two cases of 24 side by side . The phone was about the size of a roll of scott towels and plugged into it.

One day I brought inside a coffee shop and set it on the stool next to mine. It just happened to ring and I answered it.

The folks in the coffee shop were amazed. Or maybe they thought that I was just plain nuts, and was having an imaginary conversation with a big black box.

That same company eventually opened an office and hired me. We had a "fax" machine. It was this huge machine with a big drum. You would tape the page that you wanted to send to the drum. You would dial the number, wait for a screeching sound, and quickly jam the receiver into a cradle.

The drum would start spinning at about 10,000 RPM. The fax would only take 6 minutes to send one page.


The computer era has spawned some new words or changed the meanings of old ones. Here is a partial list of old meanings for new words.

Facebook: If somebody was bothering you while you were reading, you would smack them in the face with the book you were reading.

Firewire: When your car's electrical system would fry.

X-box: Your ex girlfriend

Plenty of Fish: That's what you had after a day of drinking in a boat.

Computer crash: When you dropped your Radio Shack calculator.

Porn site: That little, curtained off room in back of the video store.

Download: First thing in the morning in the bathroom.

Pirated software: Long John Silver's pantaloons.

Blog: First word to come out of your mouth after drinking whiskey all night.

Download music: When a record sucked, you would stomp it.

Applications: What you filled out when you needed a job.

Flatscreen: When you walked right into a screen door ( usually in front of strangers)

On line: Where you would drive if you were drunk.

On line dating: If you had a gal with you in the car.

Off Line: When the cops would pull you over for driving on line.

LOL, RTFM, LMAO etc. : Sounds you would make while puking.

Spam: Big quivering slab of mystery meat, usually eaten two days before payday.

Search engine: Flashlight

Hyper Text: Crazy person writing angry letters to the government.

Word: 80's rap expression

Bit Torrent: When all your drill bits fell off a ladder.

Grand Theft Auto: Usually gets you 5 to 10.

Browser: One of those pain in the ass fuggers that never buy anything.

Hard Drive: What you did to your girlfriend sometimes. Or a car without power steering.

Website: Usually in the corner near the ceiling.

Reboot: A good bar fight.

RAM: An even better bar fight.

Firewall: Somebody sets fire to the bar during a great bar fight.

Shut down: what happens to the bar after that fight.

That's it for now.
Until the next rant.

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