Simple Life

September 7, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

As part of my research for this column, I watched an episode of Fox network’s  “The Simple Life” the other day.  Let me re-emphasize that my sole purpose of watching the show was for research only, and not for the entertainment value.  The fact that I own a “Honk if you want The Simple Life” bumper sticker or that I am an honorary member of the Paris Hilton Fan Club only goes to show how serious I am about my work.

The premise of “The Simple Life” is well, simple. It’s the classic fish out of water tale.  Place two young socialites in a rural setting like a farm, give them various tasks they are completely unfamiliar with (usually dealing with some farm animal), and watch the hilarity ensue.

The Simple Life.  After watching the show, it dawned on me that this was part of a much greater phenomenon.  I’m not referring so much to the show itself, but of the title.  The simple life is something more and more of us aspire to.  As our lives become more complex, with more demands on our time, who among us wouldn’t rather experience the simple pleasure of milking a goat?  Hmm…maybe that wasn’t the best example.

You don’t have to look hard to find people around you who have made a life choice to simplify their lives.  I would bet that you know someone in your life who has given up a high paying job to open up a corner coffee shop, or drive an RV cross country, or even, live on a farm.

Each of us will find our own ways to uncomplicate our lives.  I’ve decided that embracing technology is the way to go.  Technology is designed to boost productivity, and reduce the amount of time for a given task.  This also fits in perfectly with the fact that I am the ultimate gadget guy.

Don’t believe me?  On my desk where I am writing this column, I have two computers, two printers, a digital camera, a cell phone, a portable phone, a DVD burner, a scanner, an MP3 player, a VCR, a flat panel monitor, and three computer speakers.  I’m typing this column with the keyboard on my lap as I have no room on my desk for anything else.

All right, I admit that as far as simplifying goes, I’m not off to the best start.  But that’s bound to change.  After a thorough search process, I have identified the premier gadget that will have an enormous impact towards uncluttering my life.  It’s a cell phone, but beyond the features of the phone, it is also a digital day timer, a digital camera, video camera, voice recorder, e-mail center, MP3 player, and a calculator, all in one.  For an extra $50, it comes with an attachment that will massage my back and make frozen yogurt.

The only thing is, you can’t buy this product in the states yet.  It’s only available in Japan, and it’ll be some time before it reaches here.  But that’s not really a problem for Technoman (I’m hoping people will start calling me that), because I’ve found a website that brings the latest gadgets to the U.S. before it is formally introduced ( HYPERLINK “” here.

Unfortunately, these new products developed in Japan use only Japanese in the user’s manuals and on the device itself.  Still, I am determined to simplify my life.  Therefore, as soon as I import this product from Japan and learn Japanese, my life will be uh…smooth sailing.

Hmm..let me get back to you.

Not a cloud in the sky…on purpose

September 7, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

I read recently that in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the host country of China has been testing technology that would allow them to control the atmosphere to ensure that the games will be held in picture perfect weather.

That being the case, for the first time in Olympic history, when the athletes take the field, notice the crisp blue skies overhead and proclaim, “You couldn’t ask for better weather”, an official can rightly say, “Well, actually you can, but it takes a while to get the permits.”

As I understand it, the technology has been around for years, and it involves shooting certain chemicals into clouds that are heading towards the Olympics to force the clouds to rain and sputter out by the time they pass over Beijing, where the games are being held.

Think about it – we now have the power to CHANGE THE WEATHER!  If we keep going in this direction, you just know that at some point the Sharper Image is going to come out with a personal “Thunderstorm Zapper” for those days when you “really can’t afford to let it rain.”

Umbrella companies will go belly up.  No need to take any more chances when washing your car and hoping that it doesn’t start raining the next day.  No more hurricanes to deal with and if one happens to slip through, you can send a nasty letter to the National Weather Service to fire the guy who apparently fell asleep at the wheel (or in this case, fell asleep at the big weather canon).

You have to wonder about the guy who came up with this technology and the type of personality he had.  If I was in that meeting when he proposed the idea, I know what I’d ask.

Me:  Excuse me, but do you really think it’s a good idea to tamper with Mother Nature and do we really know what the long term consequences might be?

Weather Changing Inventor Guy:  Mother Nature sucks.  Besides, I can make it rain!

Of course, if you ask an environmentalist like former Vice President Al Gore, he might say that we’ve had the power to change the weather for quite a while but until recently, we just didn’t know it.  Who would have ever thought that as a collective force, we human beings would have the power to make our world warmer?

On the one hand the idea of mankind having the audacity to control the weather is kind of funny.  But when you really think about it, it seems like it’s a part of a much larger trend, one that at least for me, seems a little scary.

We’ve built enormous dams to generate electricity and divert water to where it wasn’t meant to go.  As we saw with hurricane Katrina, we’ve built entire cities in areas that lie ten feet below sea level and are shocked when a massive storm fills it to the rim with water.

Now we are planning to physically prevent the possibility of rain on the opening day of a very famous sporting event, as athletes from all over the world march onto the field in front of an adoring crowd.

Call me crazy, but maybe just this once, it wouldn’t necessarily be the worst thing for it to rain on this parade.