Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two Notes - Computing and Movies

First, on computing. I am 25 and I sit in my computer history class, twice a week, with students who are sophomores and juniors in college. I know that, computing wise, they are not from my generation. When I TAed a class for freshmen in 2007, they were noticably more modern than me. I was lucky. I had instant messenger in high school, after three years of email and telnet at home. They had had instant messenger in middle school and email all throughout their teen years. They started off on AOL or Compuserve, while I started using ERIC (educational resource information clearinghouse...real thriller material). Sometimes, however, knowing things doesn't really sink in. 
Today the prof was talking about the Lisa computer (see above). People were asking about the drives and the prof said they were 5.25" floppy drives, and took the time to mention that they were originally called floppies because they were actually floppy...as in flexible. Well, yeah, I thought to myself. We called the 3.5" disks floppies even though they weren't flexible. Then it hit me, while I loved playing Monopoly off of 5.25" floppies, most of my classmates didn't ever use them. They only know the floppy that is 3.5" and sturdy... It's times like this when even being 25 feels old.

Movies. Tuesday night is girls night. Ben plays Xbox Live games with friends from undergrad and I go out with a friend, usually for dinner and a movie.  The movie usually is supposed to fufill two criteria. First, the movie should be one that we wouldn't be able to get our boyfriends to watch. Second, the movie should be somewhat uplifting/funny/heartwarming/cheerful/not morbid and horrible. 

So usual fare includes movies like 27 Dresses, Made of Honor, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Mamma Mia! Those are great movies and served their purpose well. The fall lineup has been less than stellar, however, and while we have some 2009 movies on our slate already, we had few fall movies. Two weeks ago, our choices was the swoony Richard Gere movie Nights at Rodanthe. Except for the fact that we ended up sobbing, it was pretty good. But we decided that we were going to ban depressing movies from girls night. Last week we skipped, but this week we were able to see the Duchess. I had thought, briefly about arguing for the British comedy Happy-Go-Lucky, but we wanted to see the Duchess for a while, so there we went.

And it was horrible. It actually made me hate Ralph Finnes. Not personally, but his character was the slimiest of all slimeballs (as the late 1700s went). The gist of the plot (based on a real story) is that a society girl under 18 is arranged to be wed to the Duke of Devonshire so he can bear a male heir. He is a non-speaking philanderer and is emotionally abusive to Georgiana, by never speaking to her or awknowledging her, except if he is trying to begat a male heir. It's really horrible. While we weren't crying afterwards, I think we were both pretty angry and the 1700s powers that be for being so useless for womens rights. While we can't do anything to change the past, we have decided that we are no longer allowed to pick movies for ourselves. Obviously we are incapable of selecting light and frilly chick flicks. Suggestions are welcome. (Suggestions that obviously do not meet our criteria will be ignored.)


Simon said...

I remember real floppies. Also I think I remember that computer, or something very similar. What an embarrassing moment for the human race, when we thought that was slick.

I really should have warned you about The Duchess. I think I put it out of my head after I saw it because while I like when Ralph Fiennes plays surly, taciturn types, I do not like when he plays Nazis and abusive husbands. Therefore I immediately blocked it out and continued to picture him as from The English Patient. Anyway, yes, I feel guilty for not mentioning to you that you should never see that movie. Although I must admit it made me really, really grateful for the rights women have these days.

Katie said...

My guess is you don't remember that exact computer, since it was marketed for businesses and cost $16,000. However it was the basis for the Macintosh that was released in 1984. (See the ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8)

That's fine that you didn't warn me about the Duchess. I think I had blocked everything out from the trailor except the Keira Knightly, true story, and fancy costumes thing. And, if I rack my brain there's also a faint memory of Ralph Finnes in a bad wig screaming. We've got it good these days, for sure!

Unknown said...

You don't have to feel old. I'm 22 and I also used the big 5.25" floppy disks. I remember making one out of cardboard for an assignment from a computer class in middle school.

Katie said...

Thanks Fernando. It also helped that on Thursday he brought in a 24 year old Macintosh...and it still worked. So I figure I'm not much older than that so I'm fine :)