Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ready for a little "back in my day?"

I had this conversation yesterday about technology and whether or not it's a good thing. I could beat the topic to death with all the trite reasons technology will kill us all, but I have something more personal than the general cyberpunk apocalypse theories.

I hate how technology is depriving my cousins of their childhood.

I have three young cousins, two 8-year-olds and a 6-year-old, all boys. They own about every technological device able to be operate by a child their age. I think they learned to read on Leapsters. When we have family parties, they play the XBox or the Wii. If those aren't available, they play their Nintendo DS's.

If they didn't come equipped with any of their own gaming systems, they borrow an iPhone from one of their mothers and play the apps, sometimes one plays while the others watch and sometimes they play their own separate games. When they were younger, we would go to family dinners in restaurants for some occasion and their parents would bring a portable DVD player for them to watch.

I'm noticing this more and more as they get older. These kids interact with each other so much less than I did with my cousins. In my childhood, my cousins and I would always be playing together. We would make up games, hide under tables, play hide and seek, ask my grandpa to take us outside, or when there was no other choice, play some rhyming game to pass the time. We did a lot, and I wouldn't trade those memories for anything in the world.

Now, there's this prevalence of all this STUFF. We didn't have a computer in the house until I was about 5. To me, every piece of technology I saw was amazing. I remember when a family friend showed me how to write my name on Microsoft Paint at my uncle's house. I thought it was the most amazing thing. I got a Gameboy when I was 7 and thought it was awesome, but because I was so used to playing in my pretend kitchen or with my dolls, the Gameboy didn't consume my life. I would play it with the carpool kids on the way to school and would get a little annoyed that all they ever did was play Gameboy. Sometimes I would secretly wish they would forget to bring theirs.

When I was 7, I had a Gameboy and a few Tonka/Dr. Seuss/Magic School Bus computer games. I didn't have a DS, a Wii, an XBox 360, a Playstation 3, a cell phone, an iPod Touch, a shelf of computer games, a portable DVD player, and a Club Penguin subscription. And I definitely didn't bring all these things to Thanksgiving.

For me, technology was a novelty. For them, it's a lifestyle. When you always expect something to be there, why should you know what to do when it's gone? And if you have it, why would you pretend you don't? If we had all that stuff when I was little, we would have sat there and played it and never really got to know each other. That thought makes me sad.

My cousins the same age as me do this now, too. They bring their iPods and play the apps. All we ever do is play apps on iPod Touch. I resent this and wish they would leave them home so we could just hang out, talk, joke around, get to know each other. I stayed so close to my cousins for my whole life, and I feel like as we get older, we grow further apart. The few times we do see each other, I don't like to spend them playing Jelly Car.

I wish all kids could have the opportunity to be kids, to use their imaginations to create their own fun instead of having it displayed on a silver screen at the touch of a button. This technology craze is all about money, but some things are much more valuable.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Are intentions more important than consequences?

In one of my classes, we're talking about the theory of duty ethics in comparison to utilitarianism, and one of the major differences between the two is that duty ethics believes that the intentions of an action are more important than the intentions, and utilitarianism asserts that the consequences are more important. One thing about ethical theories is that there are strong arguments for all of them and there really is no right or wrong solution. There is never a way to make everything perfect.

I was thinking, which is more important, intentions or consequences? Let's say a child is about to fall off a ladder. In one scenario, someone runs over and jumps to catch the child, but they miss and the child falls. In another scenario, someone is worried about the expensive glass Christmas ornament in the child's hand and runs to grab the ornament, saving the child from falling in the process. Which is better?

I think the first is better, because even though the child still fell, the intention to save the child was there, meaning that the thoughts of doing good were also there. In the second, sure the child didn't fall, but the force of good was absent. The intention was to save the ornament, not the child. The good consequence was unintentional.

I believe that in a world where everyone tries their hardest to do good but still fails is better than a society where everyone has the worst of intentions but somehow accidentally yields good consequences. The altruistic mentality to do good is what makes things right. If someone tries their hardest to do the best they can, to help people, and to produce good consequences, and the consequences still don't turn out right, I don't think they were meant to be right.

I think good always conquers evil in some way or another.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Juliana's guide to Facebook status updates

I finally got a Facebook back in September. I had always criticized it as an annoying overrated trend that gives people the illusion of a social life. I've gotten into it lately pretty much just because it gives me something to do. Reading people's statuses gives you a lot of insight into who they are, just by the type of thing they choose to send out to their 300 "friends." There are a few types of statuses that are really lame.

1. The basic, short summary of the mundane events of their day. Adults usually do this because they use Facebook solely to let their other adult friends know what they're doing.
"Going to the mall"
"Doing homework"

2. The more childish detailled account of the events of their day, usually seen in posts by middle school kids who feel like they need to make sure everyone knows they have a life.
"Went to the mall and got a pretzel with my peepz! Then Brian stole my pretzel and we went to the Apple store and took pictures and we almost got kicked out for knocking down the posters! And we saw Chad and Hayley there! Sooo funnn."

3. Name-dropping. Also a sad attempt to let the world know they have friends.
"Hanging out with Sarah, Brian, Chad, and Hayley!"
"At the beach with Joe, Nick, and Kevin!

4. Probably the most annoying kind of status there is: Posting intentionally vague statuses in order to elicit comments, to which they many times respond "I don't want to talk about it." Urban dictionary calls it vaguebooking.
"I can't believe he would do that!"
"This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me..."
"Wow, that was unexpected..."

5. Facebook Tourettes, as named on Urban Dictionary. (Don't ask me how I know these, I really don't remember when I saw that name.) This is when someone posts a series of inane statuses in succession, usually about the same thing.
8:00-"I HATE HIM!"
8:15-"I HOPE HE DIES!!!"

This is an actual example of a series of statuses from someone I hid from my wall. She was just too annoying. Also an example of both Facebook tourettes and vaguebooking. A double threat.

6. This isn't a status, but it's another annying Facebook habit. Excessive boring picture posting. I hate these people who post 100 pictures a week of them and their friends just hanging around. There's nothing special about these pictures, just them and their friends screwing around. If you've seen five, you've seen them all. Again, I think this is an attempt to show people they have friends, because why else would they feel like they need to post all these pictures?

There's this one girl on my Facebook list who does this along with something even more annoying. She posts a million pictures a week of her and her boyfriend in the exact same lovey-dovey pose, one after another after another. I see her taking these pictures every day at lunch, and she gets other people to take them, and they set up a backdrop and everything. Seriously? Why do this? So you have proof of your time together? I think the first million pictures are enough proof.

This is why facebook annoys me and why I never wanted one before. Still doesn't stop me from checking it 10 times a day. It's stupid but addictive.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Third Rock from the Sun

I know I've been watching too much Third Rock from the Sun when 18 year old Joseph Gotdon Levitt starts showing up in my dreams. It is a hilarious show though and doesn't get as much credit as it deserves.

There are funnier scenes, this one was just short. These people are aliens sent to Earth to study human behavior, but the show's funny because they know nothing about how to act like normal humans. So in every episode, they're all doing something really strange. In the episode I was watching today, this guy confessed to one of them that he's gay, but he thought he was confessing that he was an alien too, so they're going to gay bars together and the guy thinks they're alien bars. That was hilarious

But I love Joseph Gordon Levitt. I think he was my first celebrity crush when I was little. No, second...Jonathon Taylor Thomas (the middle son on Home Improvement) was the first. But I liked Joseph Gordon Levitt before I even saw 10 Things I Hate about You.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I want to make a Lucky Charms fortune teller. Maybe tomorrow night.