Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Low tech

I have "watched" this year's postseason without a working television. In fact, tonight is the first night in which I'll be able to actually see and hear what everyone else is seeing and hearing, images of and commentary about players at the ballpark doing extraordinary things.

This has happened because I got myself so twisted over my cable box -- and the new and different box the cable company gave to me -- that they finally had to send a tech guy out to save me. And he also fixed a few more things for me (at no charge, I made sure of that), and now my techy things are working better than ever.

I got into this situation because I'm a low-tech guy and I don't really have the knowledge or right kind of brain to operate in what's increasingly an exclusively high-tech world. I turned toward writing at an early age because I knew, after trying and failing in a new world called "computer science," that I was much better at the arts than the sciences.

But it's also because of the time period in which I was raised, which was a much more low-tech age. In fact, I just heard on the radio today (another low-tech tool) how the Rolling Stones are so old that they now require in their concert contracts specific written instructions about how to work all of the electronic equipment in whatever hotel room they are visiting.

"Yeah," I thought. "I'd probably want something like that, too."

So I'm low-tech on two different fronts, the time period in which I was raised, and the way I think. And that doesn't really jive with blogging either. There are quite a few card bloggers who have tech backgrounds or jobs. Understandable, I guess, given that they're around computer technology all the time. Every once in awhile, I'll come across some comments on a post that relate to operating systems or other various techy things and I'll think "I'm out, I have no idea what they're talking about."

It's second nature for them. But it's not for me. Why just the other day someone in the comments told me that all I had to do to find the answer to a contest question was: come on man, "use technology, it should take you only a few minutes."

And my automatic reaction was, "(*sigh*), do I have to?"

Yeah, OK, that makes me backwards or a simpleton or whatever.

But you know what's low-tech?

Baseball cards. And no matter how advanced you are into technology, you might collect them, too. Welcome to my low-tech world.

To celebrate that world, here are some cards from Jeff of Wish They Still Came With Bubblegum, a high-tech vehicle (a blog) that makes a reference to a low-tech treat and marketing tool (bubblegum).

Yes, I agree, Jeff. I wish blogs came with bubblegum, too. And specific written instructions.

Here is the Dodgers' closer, Kenley Jansen, who looked wonderful against the Mets in Game 4 last night. Or so I gathered anyway, based on fans' descriptions online. At least one high-tech communications system was working for me.

This, of course, is a 2015 Archives card paying tribute to a much more low-tech time period, 1983. We were playing Pac-Man then and eagerly anticipating the arrival of the video cassette recorder. Both instruments -- Pac-Man and the VCR -- are still featured in the home of this low-tech person.

Here are some low-tech cards of people you have been able to view on your high-tech video screen. Oh, if only Allen and Ginter knew when they were placing low-tech cardboard in packs of cigarettes that the future version of them would be depicting actresses who play characters who are IT experts. Low-tech displaying high-tech. Talk about your mixed media.

I may be old and low tech but that doesn't mean I rely solely on old-fashioned ways. When Hyun-Jin Ryu went down for the season, I knew it'd be trouble for the Dodgers' No. 3 spot for the rest of the season. Part of that reason was because baseball people would naturally rely on the veteran to get the team through when the stakes were high and Kershaw and Greinke weren't available. Late in the regular season, when ESPN's Baseball Tonight was speculating who would get the ball for the Dodgers for Game 3 of a postseason game, Rick Sutcliffe and his fellow talking head instantly went to Brett Anderson, like there was no other option.

"No!" I screamed at my then-working TV. "No! No!"

I wanted Alex Wood. And I wanted Alex Wood for Game 3 against the Mets. But we got Brett Anderson. And you know what happened there. It was if the Dodgers gave the Mets a free win. "Here -- this one is on us!" Talk about operator error. Low-tech guy could've told you that wouldn't work.

This is about as high-tech as actual cards get. It's a shiny die-cut from Stadium Club of a very low-tech player (and a very familiar and low-tech photo). I like this card a lot better than I thought I would. Little ol' low-tech me.

I'm probably never going to fully embrace the high-speed technology that has invaded every aspect of every first-world resident's life. In a few months, I'll finally reach 2004 and find myself a smart phone. But I don't know if I'll ever get to the point where I'm collecting virtual trading cards on it.

That's OK. I'm comfortable at this pace and in this place. If it means getting ripped by some IT guy or someone on Twitter every once in awhile, I can handle it.

My life is pretty good. I've got a working TV now. And a computer. And The Twitter. And if I have a problem, I have a kid who knows more tech knowledge intuitively than I ever forced into my very unwilling brain.

I just have to pry the $200 headphones off of her and unchain her from her laptop.

"Hey, your low-tech dad doesn't want to play with his low-tech cards anymore and needs help with a high-tech device."

And she'll help me.

Because she loves me in a very low-tech way.

No batteries required. And no specific written instructions needed either.


  1. The smart phone you get, hopefully it's not a Blackberry (which was all the rage back in 2004). 😀

  2. "But I don't know if I'll ever get to the point where I'm collecting virtual trading cards on it."

    It's funny you mention that. Would virtual cards be considered low tech or high tech?

  3. I'm an IT guy and I do like to make my lists and things through technology. I took my (work) tablet to the last card show so I could scroll through some of the longer lists I wouldn't otherwise print out. I can convert Beckett or Database listings into nicely formatted documents that catalog the entire cardographies of players or list large sets for easy reference while sifting through boxes at shows. And goodness knows I do all my trading via the internet....
    But the flip side is, I really have no interest in virtual card stuff like Topps Bunt or eTopps (though I need a few to complete some player collections). I like hardcover books vs. Kindle reading and newsprint SCD mags instead of reading them on a screen. I don't even like encased cards because you can feel (or smell) them. Guess I'm just old school with techy talents....