Thursday, February 23, 2012

What's New

I left 80 degrees and sunshine in Southern California to come to Chicago and the prospect of snow. Of course, it’s not just snow these days. Now, the weather man first called it a winter storm warning, which was later downgraded to a winter storm advisory. He didn’t explain what either term meant, but the best I could tell was he were saying it was going to snow.

I know there is some weather that is threatening, but lately it seems like every weather forecast sounds like disaster is about to strike. But then news reporting in general has become like one big tabloid. Every night, one of the news station plays dramatic music and flashes a big sign on the screen that says Breaking News. Not exactly. Most of the time, whatever the story is, has long since ended.

Don’t even get me started on how they send reporters out to do a remote from a location where something happened in the past. How newsworthy is it to have a reporter standing on a street where hours or even days earlier a bank was robbed, and the cops and everyone else has left?

But back to my trip to Chicago. As I was unpacking my laptop, netbook and smart phone, I started thinking about my parents and what they would think about these devices. My father died in 1970, so he missed all of it. My mother died in 1996, and knew that I had some kind of phone in my purse and heard a neighbor talking about sending messages to her daughter on a computer. But nothing compared to now.

I held up my BlackBerry and tried to imagine explaining it to my father. Not so easy to understand for someone who last used a phone that weighted a ton and was wired into the wall.

As I turned on my laptop, I imagined my father looking at it. It is so far from what he was used to, how could I even explain it. I know when I got my first laptop, I thought it was so neat, like taking the world with me, but I was already used to a computer.

While these thoughts danced around in my head, I started working on Yarn2Go and a scene the involved a lighthouse. While it takes place in the fictitious town of Cadbury by the Sea, it bears more than a little resemblance to Pacific Grove where there happens to be a famous lighthouse. I couldn’t remember the exact details and wanted to check them.

I could just imagine if my father was watching how amazed he’d be as I with a few keystrokes, went online and got the whole history of the Los Pinos lighthouse. In case you’re interested - it dates from 1885 and is the longest continuous lighthouse on the west coast. Not only did I get facts, but photographs and a map that showed just where it sits. And then with a few more keystrokes, I was back in the middle of my manuscript, adding the details to my work in progress.

My father would have loved to be able to follow his curiosity without leaving the house.

Sometimes I think about what it was like before we had all this information for the asking. My curiosity likes now better.

What is your favorite thing you’ve found out on the Internet?


Nancy Curteman said...

I can't choose one favorite thing. What I love in general is to be able to switch to the internet to research something right in the middle of writing a scene for my novel. I have to be careful though because I often stumble on something interesting and get distracted from my writing.

Betty Hechtman said...

Nancy, I know what you mean about getting distracted. One thing can lead to another question and more searching and before you know an hour has gone by.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I think often about my uncle who was a forward-thinking techie for his time, Betty. He passed away about 12 years ago. He would have been so amazed and delighted with all of today's gadgetry!

Planner said...

There are many riches on the Internet, and one of my favorites is the wealth of free crochet patterns that people generously share.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, your uncle must have at least gotten a taste of the Internet. I bet he'd be amazed at so many changes in such a short time.

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, you are right about it being great to have crochet patterns online. Also great to have all the instructional things on Youtube.