Posts Tagged ‘iPod’

Dear Santa, I would like a laptop, an iTouch, a Nintendo DS….

November 19, 2010 2 comments
A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burni...

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Halloween is not in the can for a week, and the Christmas crap starts.

Before I have even taken the skeletons and cobwebs (this, in itself, is alarming: Halloween decorations??) to storage and put away the multiples of costumes, the kids have their Christmas lists finished and are asking about their dresses.

Dresses? For one day?

As I’m questioning the necessity of whether they each need a dress they will never wear (Doesn’t last year’s fit? How about something a little nicer than normal that you will actually wear again throughout the year?), I catch a glimpse of my oldest daughter’s list.

The first item is a laptop computer.  And then the cheeky bugger has listed several other items beneath it, since you can’t simply get one gift for Christmas.

Hardly an original thought, but once more, with feeling: have we lost our marbles when it comes to consumerism at Christmas?

I said as much to her.  “But I need it for school! We don’t have enough laptops to go around,” she wailed.

She is eleven.  Whatever happened to the blackboard?  And slates?

I try not to point my finger solely at her – it is the age in which we live.  Also to blame is her peer group, who seem to up the ante on every birthday and occasion. You can’t blame her for trying.  But it seems to get worse every year, the wish list loftier and longer, the price tags higher, the gadgets fancier.

We’ve traded in American Girls (who knew you could spend that much dough on a doll?) for electronics.  A couple of years ago it was the iPod, then the Nintendo DS, then the iTouch.  (The requests for the cell phone have been ignored although her voice gets louder, and I am sad to report she is in the minority of her group of friends who must resort to land lines for calling home – “use your friends cellphone,” I tell her cheerfully.)

When I was her age I was lucky to get a Barbie.  The world, and not just my daughter, has gone mad.  And you either must buck up in order to make their wishes come true, or buck the trend; in which case your name, come Christmas day, will be the Grinch.  Or Scrooge.  Pick your poison.

The answer, of course, is to educate your children about those who have so little at this time of year; let’s help them instead.  We gather necessities and tiny treasures and put them together for families in need in our community.  We deliver bags of food to the Food Bank.  We talk about all the people all over the world who are simply trying to survive each day, let alone play with a new toy.  We do all this until the cows come home.  And yet when tucking them in at night, it’s back to their list.

This is where the tough parenting comes in.  I love my children to the ends of the earth, but it’s my job to teach them that their happiness can’t be bought.  I want them to be joyously happy on Christmas Day, but not because I’ve forked out January’s grocery money on their gift.  I want them to have great friends and feel secure but not because they received what the rest of their friends got during the holiday.  I want them to be thoughtful, loving, caring, empathetic citizens, not greedy, selfish drama queens.

It’s so much easier to say yes than no, but what is that teaching them?  I always did have a soft spot for the Grinch.

My ultimate playlist

November 15, 2010 2 comments
iPod nano 5G

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My friend was cataplectic.

“You do NOT run with an iPod!”

Oh yes, I do, I assured her. “Even in races?” she asked dubiously.  Especially in races, I told her.  In fact, I credit my fantastic playlist for getting me to the finish line in a personal best time in a recent marathon.

It’s my way of multitasking.  I love listening to music, but rarely get a chance to blare my favorite tunes in our house, since it just adds to the noise level, which is already at a considerable decibel.  And Eminem‘s lyrics are not family friendly.

I know what arguments those opposed to running with iPods use: music distracts you from concentrating on the task at hand – which is precisely why I listen to it; music detracts people from conversing with you – again, precisely, although I hasten to add I don’t play it too loudly, so I can easily hear my fellow runners coming up behind me and have brief conversations, and listening to music takes away the serenity of the running experience –  in my case, I’d argue it enhances the serenity.

When Walkman‘s were popular, I did a few trial runs with my jaunty yellow device, but it was cumbersome and heavy, and the cassette tapes weren’t long enough.  I wasn’t a fan.

But the invention of the iPod (or other MP3 players, but who’s kidding who? I’m a Mac fan.) changed my running career.  I had become bored with running, finding it harder and harder to motivate myself to get out there, particularly on cold, wet days when I probably most needed the endorphins.

Equipped with my little green Nano, however, I loaded  all sorts of playlists – different ones for speed work, long runs, rainy days, reflective days, blue days, hyper days, races – and away I go.  I’m always particularly keen to get out there if I’ve worked on a new, killer playlist.

The key to a great playlist is to intersperse different genres of music with different tempos.  I know some people like a steady, driving beat the entire time, but that becomes white noise to me.  I prefer to mix in some slower tunes at various points, so as to better appreciate the upbeat songs when they land.

Here is my current favorite playlist, ideal for an hour and half trail run.

Ready to Start – Arcade Fire
Just A Dream – Nelly
Radioactive – Kings of Leon
Gimme Sympathy – Metric
Feel it in my bones    4:53    Tiestro feat. Tegan and Sara
Airplanes  – B.o.B  (Feat. Hayley Williams)
Moves – The New Pornographers
Kids – MGMT
Stereo Love – Edward Maya ft. Alicia
Back In Your Head – Tegan and Sara
Take a Minute – Knaan
Dead Disco –  Metric
Poster Of A Girl  – Metric
Cocaine Cowgirl – Matt Mays & El Torpedo

Rebellion – Arcade fire
Love The Way You Lie  – Eminem  (feat Rihanna)
Pyro  – Kings of Leon
Hell  –  Tegan And Sara
Suburban War  – Arcade Fire
Shine 4U   –  Carmen and Camille
Electric Feel – MGMT
The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
Soft Rock Star –  Metric
Standing on the Shore – Empire of the Sun

How can you not love running with such amazing tunes in your ears?