It’s just not what it use to be

English: iPad 2 with Smart Cover running iMovie.
English: iPad 2 with Smart Cover running iMovie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was at the university today in search of actual books. The kind made from paper, glue and ink. The kind of book you open up and sniff that distinctive smell of book. 

It has been a very long time since I read a paper book. I have become the new generation of reader – ereader. I have to admit, I love it. I love having 500 books on my shelf that I carry in my purse. I love that my carry on for airplane trips was light and had room to bring stuff back. In my bag for my last trip I had my iPad, charger cord, tissue, hand sanitizer, and a pashmina. My iPad had a couple of movies and tv shows loaded on it, my New York Times Crossword puzzle, pdfs for university, photo editing software and 500 photos before my trip, 682 hours of music and my beloved book collection. I felt like Arthur from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. All I needed was a towel. I know there are a lot of you who will tell me you love your books and can’t convert. I am not trying to convert you, but I caution you not to close your mind of because books are going the way of the vinyl album, betamax and vhs tapes, cds, typewritters, tube tvs, space shuttles and Concords. This is just the way it is.

I had a hard time at the campus book store finding the required reading material needed for my next class. Seriously, those dudes are USELESS. I left empty handed and went to Tim Horton’s to drown my sorrows in a steeped tea (because Timmy’s coffee is VILE) I had my iPad with me and I started to google. I discovered the chapters I needed were available for download. SWEET! Into my ereader they went and now I have the added benefit of highlighting, adding notes and working right from the tablet. I found the other book I needed available at the campus library and now it also is installed on my ereader. The best part is, I don’t have to lug around a heavy bag filled with text books and note pads. I don’t worry about pens without ink or other crud I don’t need.

This was true of my kids this year as well. Both my kids have some sort of electronic device for school. The oldest has a lap top, the youngest a iPad. The youngest uses apps that connect her with the smart boards at school. The notes are available on-line, so time is spent exploring the topic rather than copying copious amounts of notes. They both email in their assignments, communicate with their teachers via email and have access to on-line learning labs. My youngest understands her need for some hands on work and notes so I bought her pens, pencils, a binder and some paper. The oldest didn’t need anything but his laptop and an ereader. His library has ebooks that he downloads on his reader. When the due date is up, they disappear. This is also possible through the public library. The need for text books is also going by the wayside. This style is perfect for my eldest’s learning style. He reads it, he retains it, he discusses it in chat rooms or clusters with his peers. It’s all very appealing to my children to learn this way. If they have their laptop, they have their homework. Things are saved to clouds and flash drives. Gone are the days of “I forgot to bring it home”.

Don’t bother telling me they way you use to learn is better. Things evolve and change. There is a huge debate on texting versus spelling out the entire word. Let me just say if we always did things they way we use to, I would be writing this blog on the walls with a chisel. Embrace change, maybe even marvel at it. Sure it isn’t the same but it opens up blocks of time for other things that expand the mind. Less time on core details opens up more time for extra curricular creativity. This helps my kids explore things I never had the opportunity to try.

Wednesday I have a class that takes place in my home. I will fire up my laptop, don my headset and microphone, and discuss stuff online, live with a visual of what my classmates look like. Technically I don’t have to change out of my pajama bottoms, shoulders up is all they see, so I’ll brush my hair, wash my face and wear a clean shirt. I can sit on my deck if it’s nice out. That’s right, I will be living my high school dream from 1984. I will have class outside in the sunshine on Wednesday at 5:00 pm and get stuff done. Give me wifi and I could be by the pool.

Who do I thank for this? Steve Jobs? Steve Wozniak? Bill Gates? If you ask me, they are worth their weight in gold because THIS is awesome. I don’t have to drive in rush hour to get to my class. I don’t have to pay for parking. I don’t have to pack a lunch. I don’t have to wear socks.

Now, I cannot WAIT for work to go all electronic so I can do it from my lounge chair while soaking up the sun.

Rube Goldberg vs Pez Dispensers

Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin
Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ChatterBox has been working for a while on a group project for science. A Rube Goldberg project ro be more precise. Apparently Rube was this guy who made things complicated. He is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complex gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. Picture Doc from Back To the future and his crazy convoluted way he made toast.

This is what ChatterBox and her friends have to make, only not the toast part – they have to turn on a CD player.

The assignment is to use six simple machines to complete the task. She has a lever, pulley, screw, wedge, wheel, and an incline. I’ve seen it. It looks complicated.

We spent the evening at the Dollarama finding tape, tie downs, dowels, and marbles. We saw every kid her her class there too. The problem with Dollarama is you go for one thing (tape) and leave with stupid stuff you don’t need ( Light Sabre). The music  in the background made me want to dance (Fleetwood Mac – Sing it Stevie!) but ChatterBox wanted to sword fight…. long story short we went looking for dominos.

Can you belive the Dollarama did not have DOMINOS! I KNOW! So we called my mom. My mom has an awesome tickle trunk full of things – she calls it the laundry room, but really it is a storage plaza. Filled with everything that is useful and everything that is not. The not useful stuff is dad’s.

Dad and mom do not share the same decorating taste, so Dad gets the laundry room. My dad collects cool stuff, like bobble heads, cowboy art, waterguns, superman stuff, and Pez machines. He has easily 1000 Pez machines ranging from Ariel to Zorro. He has them all filled with candy, lined up on special shelves,  labeled and arranged into sets. For example, there is a Pixar set, Star Trek, and even a Justice League set. He even hired a gal to come in and dust them every week (that would be his granddaughter). I like to go and just look. It is like being in a Pez museum. Every time I go to peek, I discover a new collection. Todays new one was the Hello Kitty set. He has people calling him all the time “Dad, I am at 7-11 and found the 3 Stooges Pez, do you have those?” “Hang on and let me check…yes I do, but thanks for checking for me!”

We all seem to have a vested interest in his Pez collection. What makes me think is, would a Pez dispenser be considered a Rube Goldberg machine? Have you ever tried to fill one full of candy? It isn’t simple. It IS easier to just eat candy out of the package. So is it? Tell me what you think.