Tuesday, March 22, 2005

New Toys - Truth and Balderdash - Web Memory Meme

New Toys

Today is John's birthday.  He got books and baseball cards and a 1959 Disneyland supplement, and we're going to see Shonen Knife shortly. They perform at 11:30 PM--pretty darn late, even for me! (Update: we decided to skip the concert.  We're both tired and short on sleep, and we just saw Shonen Knife last year, and John has a cold.)

John is also going to get my two-year-old Compaq, because I just got a new one.  Becky found a killer deal, just as my old hard drive appeared to be dying, again.  Above is a picture of Shela-the-laptop.  It's mostly set up now, but I'm having trouble staying online.  The loose wires that go to the 1970-style four prong phone jack may be dying.  That, or I need to make sure the firewall isn't causing problems. I bet it is. (Yes, it was.)

While I was in Yikes today, buying John a Rat Fink Wobbler, I found something I had to have for myself.  Do you know who this is? (John said, "I can't begrudge you getting that.  It's pretty cool!")

The Truth Value of Balderdash

Paul Little has a meme in which he's made a list of "Ten Things That Might Be True About Karen Funk Blocher:" It's all balderdash, of course, but there are minor elements of truth in some of them:

1) Karen's favourite song is Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through by Meatloaf. Either that or My Heart Will Go  On by Celine Dion.

Truth Value: 1%.  I like Paradise By the Dashboard Light and a few other songs by Meat Loaf, but I'm not familiar with that one. Celine Dion? Never!  I'd have trouble picking one favorite song, but I'm very fond of Things We Said Today, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away and If I Fell (all by The Beatles, of course).

2) The highest pair of heels Karen owns are two inches, and she's only ever worn them once.

Truth Value: 60%. I did wear beige chunk heels to my wedding, and they may have been almost two inches.  I think I wore them more than once, though.  They may or may not still be in a box in storage somewhere.

3) Karen's Joshua Wander series was to have included fictional television commercial jingles that she wrote and recorded. They were later edited out.

Truth Value: 5%.  I don't see how tv commercials would fit in with that series.  I did, however, record (a capella on the iMac) one of the songs from Mages of Mâvarin.

4) Karen once lost her car keys for a whole week. Only after she had paid to get them duplicated did she find them under some papers on her desk.

Truth Value: 50%.  I couldn't survive a week without car keys, and usually when I lose something it's not on my desk. (Exception: my cell phone earlier this evening.) However, I have found credit, debit and grocery discount cards under or between the car seats, a week or longer after losing them.

5) Karen still has, tucked away in a drawer, every pair of eyeglasses she's ever owned. except one. They were her favourites.

Truth Value: 10%.  I think I have one or two old pairs in a drawer, or possibly in an old altar bread can.  They aren't favorites, just old backup glasses.

6) Karen isn't even remotely interested in the new Dr. Who series coming out. She thinks it will be "complete bullocks."

Truth Value: 10%.  I had major trepidations about it, but I saw a wonky download of it the other night and liked it a lot.  I still have minor reservations, but I want to see more.

7) In grade school, Karen never raised her hand, even though she knew all the answers.

Truth Value: 0%.  Are you mad?  I've always raised my hand, all the time, except possibly in Chemistry or Algebra when I didn't understand the material.  Even then, I probably raised my hand to request clarification.

8) Karen likes to collect nostalgic toys because she feels guilty about how badly she treated her toys as a child.

Truth Value: 55%.  I do collect old toys, and I do feel guilty about all those china  animals I broke, and about not keeping my Barbies and trolls.  But that's not why I collect such things now. Most of my original items either were thrown away by a maid, mistakenly sold by my dad at a post-divorce yard sale, given away by me to people who didn't appreciate them, or lost in the 14 moves I made from 1975 to 1986.  I want my things back, but not out of guilt!  More like greed.

9) Karen has clear high school recollections of grades 9 and 11, but can remember almost nothing about grade 10.

Truth Value: 10%.  Hmm.  Tenth grade.  The first of the spectacular ankle sprains.  Mr. Petty for bio.  Dan Cheney and the founding of STAR Syracuse.  The Bobby Fischer sketch.  Ms. Hiestand. Miss Winter. Eh, I could probably come up with more stuff, but I'd want to check my facts.

10) Karen will neither confirm nor deny the rumour that she was once locked in a storage room for fifteen minutes with Scott Bakula.

Truth Value: 5%.  I do deny it.  On the other hand, Teresa and I spent about 25 minutes in Scott's trailer on the Universal lot once, while his publicist guarded the door from the outside.  What was going on in there?  We were interviewing, unfortunately without a working tape recorder, and Scott was eating spaghetti.

And there you have it. Karen, I hope you don't get too upset with me for making you the example in this new bloggame. You're next. Pick a blogger you read and fire away. But, once again, be nice.

No problem.  Anyone want to volunteer to be the subject of my speculations?

A Meme to Test Web Memory

Okay, it's my turn. Here's the premise.  The Web is a wonderful thing, but it has a few serious flaws in its collective knowledge. If something happened since 1998, it's probably referenced online somewhere.  If it happened between 1780 and 1906 or so, and involves a birth, death, immigration record or wedding, it may be online because of genealogy research. But if it happened between, say, 1950 and 1990, it's probably not mentioned online anywhere unless you personally did so.

Case in point:  I've heard from a number of people in response to a journal entry I wrote many months ago about Manlius, NY in the 1960s and 1970s.  People have found that entry because there just isn't much else online about Manlius between 1920 and 1990.  Similarly, my dad's long career at Syracuse University and elsewhere gets hardly a mention online, except by me.  Same with his war record.

So here's the meme, and I hope you'll participate.  Think of it as an unscientific study, or a game, or whatever.  What I want you to do is this:

1. Think of someone who played a significant role in your life when you were a kid (say, eight to ten years old). If you're only 12 now, you're excused from doing this, simply because your childhood was well into the Internet Age.

2. Google up that name.  Is the person you remember mentioned online to any significant degree?  Did you have to wade through 19th century family tree records to find one reference to the person you knew in 1960 or 1970 or 1980 or 1990?

3. Blog about your result.  You don't have to mention the person by name, but I'm interested in knowing how many people find a significant web presence or historical record, and how many find next to nothing, and what turned up instead of the person you wanted.

4. Leave a link in the comments to this posting.  Alternatively, tell your result here instead of in your own journal.  Your choice.

I'll start.  Remember my story about my fourth grade teacher, Miss Skinner, who had to put up with my deliberately ungrammatical essay about The Monkees?  I looked her up by first and last name.  The first screen of Google results included a bunch of web sites about a character with the same name, who appeared on a long-running British tv show and eventually died.

Then there were the usual family tree records, usually with the first and last names referring to two different people.

Finally I found a single reference to my old teacher. The page listed a fund named after her, probably a scholarship fund bequeathed in her will. 

On that same web page, I discovered that my wonderful third grade teacher, Miss Olds, also gave her name to a charitable fund. It was listed as having been established at the time  of her death, after over thirty years of teaching "second grade."  (Well, I had her for third, so there!)  It's a college scholarship fund for F-M students. Well, good.  I'd rather that Miss Olds was still alive and well, but that's asking a lot after all these years.  She was far from young, even when I had her for third grade.

You may recall that I last saw Miss Olds in 1975, the day before I graduated from high school.  Even then, she still had something to teach me: the word "synchonicity."  Which is roughly how I came across her name today.



sakishler said...

Fun memes! I will volunteer for the first one! And I'll also participate in the second one, but give me a day or two . . .


daephene said...

Every credit or debit card I've ever lost showed up in my car eventually.  Just another random thing to have in common.  (Referring to #4 in the things that might be true).

ryanagi said...

Zorro!! Cool! I'll volunteer for the meme...knowing full well I still owe you one. LOL Tonight! After dinner! As for the project at the end, I sorta did that already. I was looking for info on a Jr. High teacher (circa 1978) and found NOTHING. So I contacted the librarian at my old Jr. High (now a middle school) who WAS listed online - she is current tho. She was able to give me his address where he retired to. I have been thinking about sending him the post I eventually wrote about him.

sakishler said...

I did it! See:


floralilia said...

karen - did i hear the word balderdash?????

what a co-inka-dink...


my spanky new super groovy beading website....

great musings, btw...