Rant of the Day: Techno Babes

I have a tendency to rant in real life over stupid things that I don’t understand. Welcome to my first rant for the blog.

Can someone please explain to me why children (youngin’s I mean, not pre-teens or teenagers) need techno gadgets? I don’t mean those little Leapfrog things that are clearly made specifically for young children, but rather things like cell phones, laptops, and iPads.

For those of you who don’t have children or aren’t around children (which would normally be me), parents and family are apparently buying these things for their little ones. I know because I’ve seen 6 or 7 year olds walking around the grocery store and mall with cell phones — either talking or texting (these kids can barely spell on paper. Is this how we got text speak?).  And now my own parents have gotten my 6-year-old nephew an iPad mini for Christmas.

Let me repeat that: My parents got my SIX YEAR OLD nephew an IPAD MINI for Christmas.

I’m sorry, but my 6-year-old nephew does not need an iPad mini. Why in the world would you give a $300 portable machine to a 6-year-old who still thinks that the way to get something to work is to punch it, shake it, or throw it on the ground?

And what’s he even going to do with it? “Sorry Mommy, I can’t take a bath right now. I gotta go FaceTime my peeps and download some AC/DC on iTunes.” He does play on his parents’ iPad a lot but it’s to play Angry Birds (which he is scary good at. He has beaten my high score on my phone a LOT).  But all this means is that my parents just bought him a $300 Angry Birds video game.

By the time he’s even old enough to appreciate what he’s got it’s going to be obsolete. There are already apps that don’t work on our first gen iPad because of the advancements in technology FROM TWO YEARS AGO.

And the thing is, I know some of my anger is due to jealously. I don’t have an iPad mini. I don’t have an iPad 3. Or even an iPad 2. I happen to have the first generation iPad which I  only have because my Dad gave it to my husband when he upgraded to the iPad 2.

The best piece of technology in my house is my 4-year-old laptop that takes about 20 minutes to boot up and is starting to have an increasingly worrisome amount of blue screens of death. It was one of the first purchases I made with my husband after we got married, and replaced the 4-year-old laptop I had at the time which I used in law school and had been so tough on that the screen of the laptop finally just gave up and separated from the base during my 3rd year. The repair guy who fixed it stated he had never seen one completely separate like that before.

I bet I was easier on that laptop than my nephew will be on his iPad mini.

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I am a Christmas tree Scrooge

Driving through my neighborhood these days makes me feel like the laziest person on earth.  We have a bunch of decoration overachievers in my neighborhood where people put out these really elaborate and beautiful holiday displays — in a classy way (uh, mostly), remember my HOA. I haven’t taken any pictures of the Christmas decorations, but enjoy this set of Halloween displays (I try to make this blog timely for you guys!):

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Now remember this is for Halloween. The Christmas decor gets ramped up by about 10x the light and decoration power.

Last year I was so excited to be in my first house that we went all out and really tried to decorate the place up. We still didn’t do even half of what others in my neighborhood did, but I was proud of how my house looked.

This year, I’ve just been… eh. It’s not that I don’t like Christmas, but I just don’t have the same enthusiasm for some reason. Last weekend I got out a box of Christmas decorations and put up the stocking holders, a gold glittery reindeer I love, and a ceramic Christmas tree and was spent.

Now, I’m even questioning whether or not to put up a Christmas tree.

You see, we don’t own a Christmas tree.  For the first three years of my marriage, my husband and I lived in a house my parents owned.  It’s their retirement house and while they don’t live there because they haven’t retired yet, it’s on a lake and it’s where they come to vacation.  They have a fake Christmas tree that all of us put up and decorate every Thanksgiving so I’ve never had to own a Christmas tree before.  My husband and I intended to buy one last year, but then the entire family went on vacation over Christmas  so we didn’t bother since we wouldn’t actually be in our house on Christmas Day.

This year it’s different. I keep looking for a fake tree to get, but I’m a huge Christmas tree snob and I haven’t found one that I think looks full or real enough that doesn’t cost $500. I started thinking about just buying a real tree, but then I was watching the news and they were talking about how the problem with real Christmas trees is that they can come infested with bugs and there’s pretty much nothing I hate more than bugs.  All bugs. I’m an equal opportunity bug hater.

Plus when we went to go look at Christmas trees I couldn’t find one that looked as good as the nice fake Christmas trees.  Isn’t that sad? Then I start thinking about having to hang the lights and ornaments and put out the Christmas tree skirt that I don’t even know where it is because it probably never got unpacked from the move and I don’t even know where I’d put a stupid tree in my house and I’m just exhausted now.

So now I’m facing a prospect of not having a Christmas tree.  We don’t have kids and will probably spend Christmas Day at my parent’s lake house with the family, so I’m not feeling that sense of urgency.  But I still feel like I’m a total Scrooge and loser for not having one. I’m having an existential crisis over here.

I wish I could just buy a fake tree already decorated that I can take straight from the box and put up. Does anyone know whether such a thing exists? Oh, I’ll just check Amazon.

P.S. Ha, ha, already decorated trees totally exist. Oh, Amazon, I love you.

Because I’m sure there is nothing fake-looking about a tree that you put up like this:

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(image source: BrylaneHome, for all of your pop-up tree needs)

Creepy Christmas

I really didn’t think that there could be any creepier Christmas item than Elf on the Shelf. I mean, just LOOK at this thing:

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GAH!

Well, recently I was at my local neighborhood convenience store, turned a corner, and ran into THIS:

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Double GAH!

Can you imagine opening this on Christmas morning and being greeted by this face?

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I’m going to have nightmares tonight.

I’ve decided that the best use of this doll might be as a tool to whip kids into shape.

“Jimmy, if you don’t start behaving RIGHT NOW, Santa is going to bring you THIS! Now you go sit in the corner and think about that.”

It might qualify as child abuse, but I’m filing it away for when I have kids.