Are You Wearing Spiderman Socks ??? !!!

Uber has a variety of online friends that he IM’s with or chat’s over Skype via microphone.  He was sharing with me one of his conversations this week with an online acquaintance. Uber was lamenting to him about the transfer rate of a specific MMORPG game download.  After pouring his heart out to this guy about the trials and tribulations of online gaming, he was disappointed with the response from the other side of the computer.  “Sorry, Man.  I don’t speak ‘video game’.”

It happens all the time to us.  Just when we think someone finally “gets” us and what we’re about at the Techie household, they will give one of us that look that means – – just exactly which asteroid did you ride in on??  Sigh.  It can be so discouraging to feel like the fat chick forced to guest-star on Desperate Housewives (and by fat I mean size 8, of course).  Or like the girl-turned-guy who has to go on Oprah to explain why he is the only man alive not freaking out that there is going to be a human being expelled from his body in the near future. These are people who turn heads and draw stares because of who they are.  And we empathize.

I’ve had a few folks over the years write us off just for being homeschoolers.  Now don’t get me wrong…a few homeschoolers have probably justified the stereotype over the years.  But most of us aren’t fanatical polygamous Mormon’s who close ourselves off from the world and choose to marry off our preteens to Viagra candidates.  Most of us are just parents that for some reason or other have chosen to educate our children at home because we believe it is in their best interest. 

Uber and H-T have it the toughest, though.  They are at that delightful age where even wearing the wrong socks canspiderman_socks be considered grounds for raised eyebrows and not-so-covert stares and whispers.   Fortunately for Uber, he has surrounded himself with an equally tech-obsessed group of compadres who think it is perfectly normal to talk for two hours on the phone about the possibility of a new generation of Pokemon being released.  He doesn’t usually hit the ridicule wall until he makes the mistaken attempt to strike up conversation with someone outside his circle.  That’s when he will get shanghied with some “out there” question such as who his pick for the Superbowl is, and he will answer something like “I dunno.  The Atlanta Braves seem pretty good this year.” 

H-T is pretty much oblivious to his geek status.  He lives in the world of dinosaurs, Jedi Masters, and comic book super heroes.   He only comes to the real world long enough to wolf down some food, brush his teeth, and take his vitamins.  The fact that people in the grocery store look with disdain at his new “Indiana Jones” fedora makes very little matter to him.  He is comfortable in his own skin, or as he would say, “at one with the Force.”  Unless you have news for him about the next Jurassic Park installment, he can take you or leave you.  Ridicule is lost on him.  Lucky booger.

The hard fact of life is that people aren’t always gonna get us.  We’re a little nerdy, a little left of center, a little quirky.  We probably even deserve some of the strange looks that come our way.  But I comfort myself that though we may not be conventional, there is always someone even more peculiar to help take the pressure off.  Thank goodness for the pregnant men of the world.  Long may they reign!

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And You Thought The Matrix Was Just A Movie

My mom is on the mend.  She has been at the mercy of me, the physical therapist, and Oprah for over a month now, so she is probably more than happy to be getting closer to recovery.  Her doctor tells her that it won’t be many more weeks before she is putting her full weight on her foot.

In the meantime, Timeworn-Techie has been very productive.  She has read several great books (she highly recommends The Thirteenth Tale, a novel by Diane Setterfield to other invalids, and heck, readers in general).  She has also done some writing. She is currently working on a book about aging – – something she knows nothing about personally, of course, but has empathy for.  And… she has been taking phone calls.  Lots and lots of phone calls.  Not sure what it is about being down that makes people call you.  A captive audience, perhaps?  I guess they know you aren’t able to use that age-old excuse of “wish I could talk but I’ve gotta go (fill in blank here)”.  When you’re incapacitated, people know you don’t “gotta go anywhere”.  You are there for their listening pleasure.  Period. 

So T-T has caught up on the life and times of family, friends, acquaintances, and many folks she probably thought were already dead.  Surprise!  They weren’t dead – – just waiting until she couldn’t avoid them any longer.  One such distant acquaintance called her the other day.  He is a distant cousin once or twice removed, and she has only met him a couple of times, but he felt the strong need to call and check on her and tell her about this amazing opportunity she just shouldn’t pass up. 

It seems that Cuz-Techie (it seems to run in even the most distant of genes) had gotten involved in this wonderful online travel booking program.  Better than Expedia, easier than Travelocity, able to leap small buildings in a single mouse click.  A monkey could use it, he claimed.  monkey computer And your reserved room would always, always have clean sheets.  (Thank God, because the last hotel I went to had excrement and vomit smeared down both sides.  I could hardly sleep.)  This “Perfect Selection Travel” program had let him sign on as an agent, and all he had to do was build a team of agents and representatives under him, then he could sit back and rake in scads of money and bonuses.  In fact, the money was rolling in by the boatloads, he said, and sitting on her arse as she was, he knew that T-T would not want to miss out on this ultimate opportunity.

Sound familiar?  Yep, the pyramid scheme has gone high-tech.  Oh, sorry.  They don’t call them pyramids, anymore.  It is a “Matrix” strategy.  Forget selling dietary supplements and cosmetics to your fellow employees at work, this is SO much better.  This is something people REALLY need.  Everyone needs to travel, right?  And everyone has tons of vague relationships with people they don’t mind pissing off by asking them to join their “team of travel agents.”  So what’s to lose?  What could go wrong? 

Well here’s the funny part.  (And Cuz-Techie will miss the irony here), but T-T still calls me to her house to change the clock on her computer, and to find out why she can’t hear her the sounds that tells her she has email anymore (she accidentally hit the mute button with her elbow).  T-T doesn’t know her hard drive from her modem, and she has been on DSL for over a year now, and is still overcome with awe that people can call her while she is on the computer.  “How does the phone line know to split in two like that??” 

This is the woman that would be an online travel representative…working her magical world wide web powers to refer people to this wonderful program, and of course to build her own team of representatives under her, so she too could rake in the boatloads of cold hard cash and prizes.  I can’t blame the guy for trying.  T-T is in a highly vulnerable position for pyramid schemes, telemarketers, and long lost relatives at the moment.  Thank goodness she is a highly educated woman that is way too smart to fall for such a blatant ruse…       Darn! There’s the phone. 

“Hello?  Mom?  What do you mean you have a wonderful opportunity for me….”

Say Cheese, Sasquatch

You remember those days when your kids were babies or toddlers, and you felt like you were packing for trip to Fiji just to head to the grocery store?  After you had carried all the assorted bags, extra clothes, camcorder, toys to the car and gotten Jr. safely tucked in the car seat, you still had to make three more trips back to the house for things you had forgotten (keys, purse, your brain).  Glad those days are long behind you?  Yeah?  Don’t rub it in. 

As we headed out for church yesterday morning, I realized that my family has never quite let go of the toddler stage.  Each of us was weighed down with enough stuff to open our own Walmart and still make a killing on Ebay with the leftovers. We tend to pack for every outing as if we might not be back home until Paula Abdul says something that makes sense.   I’m afraid we may have an undiagnosed doomsday complex, because we seem to pack for all the “just in cases” of life. 

Uber and H-T never go in the car without their Nintendo DS, their game pack, their car charger AND standard charger.  If they happen to be in the car, at a crucial point in their game, and the little red “low power” light comes on?  No problem.  If they are at a friend’s house, and are deep in a Wi-Fi battle when the warning signal lights blinks?  Not an issue.  I haven’t yet warned them of those few places on earth, usually over 200 feet away from buildings and automobiles, that are not wired for any type of charger.  They have enough to worry about with global warming and the future of social security.  Why send them into panic mode? 

I usually have about four armfuls of stuff when I head out into the great unknown.  But experience has shown me that they are all absolute necessities. 

  • Cell phone, car charger, standard charger (duh – did you think the boys came up with their obsessions obigfootn their own??)
  • Camera – – because if I really see Bigfoot, I don’t want no grainy, half-ass cell phone pic – – I want a CNN-worthy ,$25,000 close-up. 
  • Two coats, a change of clothes, a blanket, gatorade and some beef jerky – – hey, I’ve watched Oprah…if you get stranded in a snowstorm in your car, this will keep you alive (as long as I remember my cell phone charger)
  • A book – – I’ve been stuck in many waiting rooms with magazines old enough to feature Jennifer Aniston’s haircut on Friends as “the next big thing”
  • Plastic grocery bags – – this trend started after an unfortunate car trip following a delicious dinner of undercooked shrimp and blueberry pie. My upholstery used to be tan.  It’s a lovely pukeish-blue-taupe now.
  • Pillows – – ok, so I’m old.  Riding in the car makes my back hurt.  Plus, they will come in handy in the snowstorm.
  • Water bottle – – again, I’m old.  2 quarts a day is supposed to help keep the wrinkles away. 
  • Portable DVD player and my Gilmore Girls DVDs- – if traffic comes to a standstill, I know that Lorelei, Rory, Richard, and Emily will talk me through it
  • Makeup bag – – because you never know when you might need a quick touch-up… like say…when CNN gets wind of my Bigfoot biopic…

Now R-T is not a “watch the sky for falling airplanes” type of man, so he generally makes it to the car with just himself and his dignity.  We’ve warned him numerous times to grab an extra pair of boots, maybe a weather radio, or even a set of jumper cables.  He’ll be sorry he didn’t listen.  When we get trapped in that snowstorm, and the boys and I run down the car battery with our various chargers, who do you think it is that’s gonna have to tromp through the snow in his tennis shoes to find Bigfoot and see if he is willing to give us a jump??