Put down the iPhone, we're going to party like it's 1986
September 6, 2013 7:32 AM   Subscribe

Canadian family lives like it's 1986 - "No computers, no tablets, no smart phones, no fancy coffee machines, no Internet, no cable, and – from the point of view of many tech-dependent folks – no life."
posted by desjardins (151 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
I remember having cable in 1986 because my mom would yell at me for watching MTV instead of doing homework... was this not a thing in Canada?
posted by desjardins at 7:33 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Okay. Why is this news? Tons of poor people live like it's 1986.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:34 AM on September 6, 2013 [23 favorites]


I'm all for unplugging as much as possible, but this:

He plans on sending out resumes drafted in cursive handwriting, even though many workplaces now only take online job applications.

...seems a little much. But hey, whatever.
posted by jquinby at 7:36 AM on September 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


they had typewriters in '86. i even had a computer class back then too. i kind of think they have a cartoony picture of that time as some kind of stoneage, with mullets.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 7:39 AM on September 6, 2013 [33 favorites]


Oh, is this something I'd have to have a computer and internet connection to understand?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:39 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


I would rather hand deliver a message to you in person, sealed with wax, then use a fax machine.


So I take it these people aren't reliant on the professional and personal connections made by information technology? cause I literally would not have a marriage, carrer, or a history of nightclub performing without the Internet.

Nor would I have been able to source and afford all the objects in my carefully constructed 1940s apartment so....to each thier own!
posted by The Whelk at 7:40 AM on September 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Luddism aside, that guy is the most Canadian man I've ever seen
posted by theodolite at 7:40 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Okay. Why is this news? Tons of poor people live like it's 1986.

Seriously, what they've described is basically the norm in West Virginia.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:40 AM on September 6, 2013


The article linked is in the Sun, so people clicking that link can be treated to worldviews from 1956 as well.
posted by Shepherd at 7:40 AM on September 6, 2013 [26 favorites]


they had typewriters in '86. i even had a computer class back then too. i kind of think they have a cartoony picture of that time as some kind of stoneage, with mullets.

We had computer class in elementary school! And typing lessons on desktops, not typewriters, and video games.
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 AM on September 6, 2013


> The couple even refused to look at photos of their newborn niece on a relative’s iPhone.

C'mon. If they're going to be that strict about their "rules" I would hope they're not cheating by driving a car less than 27 years old.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:44 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Liam Burke, your family is ready.
posted by 2bucksplus at 7:46 AM on September 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


There was a pretty thriving BBS scene in the mid 80s, so you need not be fully disconnected. Fidonet was just kicking off about then...As far as anything world-wide this was pre-gopher, so I think you'd have been stuck with uucp for your unixy stuff.
posted by jquinby at 7:47 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Fidonet, BBSes, Usenet, there was a lot going on then. This is stunt luddism.
posted by mhoye at 7:48 AM on September 6, 2013 [19 favorites]


I wonder if the bewildering rate cultural and technological change will result in more and more of these throwbacks as a way of life, we allready have it in the mainstream in various forms, these guys are just getting all rules lawyery about it. ( he said, wearing a button down shirt, waiting for the time when the weather means he can wear that thick black flannel overcoat with the wide lapels and leather gloves again.)
posted by The Whelk at 7:48 AM on September 6, 2013


In my day, this story would have been delivered by town cryer, not this newspaper nonsense. Newspapers rob us of our humanity! Look at that, those kids with their heads buried in a newspaper all day!
posted by entropicamericana at 7:50 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Guelph Family Acts All Guelph
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:50 AM on September 6, 2013 [29 favorites]


Fidonet, BBSes, Usenet, there was a lot going on then. This is stunt luddism

and you could connect to them from your friend's family computer cause they made more money than you and thier dad was like an engineer or something! It was really cool!
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


desjardins: Cable has been widespread in Canada since around 1970. In fact, Canada was the world leader in what was called, at least when I was a kid in the 70's "Cablevision".
posted by acroyear at 7:51 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well I'll be danged, it turns out that future shock is a lot less interesting than I'd expected. I'd always kinda hoped it would involve cyber-psychosis or something.
posted by aramaic at 7:52 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


He plans on sending out resumes drafted in cursive handwriting, even though many workplaces now only take online job applications.

I really hope he goes all-out with the interviews, and plays it up unfrozen caveman lawyer style. "Hang on a second.. I-I'm sorry, I was distracted by the futuristic television in your lobby. It's so large and the image is so detailed, but the set is so thin!"


The Card Cheat: I would hope they're not cheating by driving a car less than 27 years old.

Sorry to disappoint you, but their car is modern: "The only exception to their downgraded lifestyle is their car, which remains a 2010 Kia minus a GPS."


mhoye: Fidonet, BBSes, Usenet, there was a lot going on then. This is stunt luddism.

Give the kids a break. They were born in 1986, so they don't really understand what the world was like in that year.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:52 AM on September 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


Install some asbestos OGTFO.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:52 AM on September 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


Parts of the Mennonite community in southern Ontario treat technology like it's 1886. I suppose resetting the clock a century later isn't any crazier. There are worse was to live than being in a John Hughes movie, I suppose.

This does mean we'll have to get used to seeing them tooling around in garage-made Firebirds, sporting mullets/poofy hair, and wearing hand-sewn their Triumph concert shirts with legwarmers well into the next century.
posted by bonehead at 7:53 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Spend the day outside? Oh no no. "Kids, today we're going to type in BASIC programs from magazines all day, and if we mess up we have to start over."
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:54 AM on September 6, 2013 [36 favorites]


This does mean we'll have to get used to seeing them tooling around in garage-made Firebirds, sporting mullets/poofy hair, and wearing hand-sewn their Triumph concert shirts with legwarmers well into the next century.

Did you watch the video because this is literally exactly what they're doing
posted by theodolite at 7:57 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I remember having cable in 1986 because my mom would yell at me for watching MTV instead of doing homework... was this not a thing in Canada?

Certainly, in rural and northern Canada, it was not a thing. I was born in 1980 and grew up in northern Alberta. Growing up, I had access to English CBC and French Radio Canada, as well as one private broadcaster, English CTV. Some of my neighbours started to get satellites - the giant ones you erected in the yard - in the last '80's early '90's and then later on the small ones you attach to your house to get a wider variety of television. But since the "last mile" of cable was never laid outside of major centres, cable was never a thing in rural Canada. In Alberta, the "last mile" for internet is there only as a result of massive public investment. No private company would make this investment because they could not charge enough to recoup it.

The people who did have satellite, though, didn't watch MTV; they watched MuchMusic. As a teen, I always tuned into MuchMusic in the hotel whenever we took a family trip into the city.

We got dial-up internet around 1997 or so. Like in many countries, you cannot talk about "Canada" in terms of technology in a single entity. The experience in the major cities is radically different from the rural and remote experience.

If I understand correctly, there are parts of the north that still do not have reliable access to quick internet or streaming television.
posted by Kurichina at 7:57 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


If they want to live like it's 1986, why not move to Newfoundland? [/obligatoryregionalsnark]

They were born in 1986, so they don't really understand what the world was like in that year.

Yeah, that's the most depressing part of the story. Bunch of doozy muppets though, not able or willing to put the actual hard work into regularing their kids' online/phone use, so they go for the crappy stunt.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:03 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder if the term "get over yourself" was in wide use in 1986?
posted by Optamystic at 8:04 AM on September 6, 2013


Guelph Family Lives Like It's 1286

Every weekday morning, Blair McMilliano curses the Emperor, blesses the works of the Pope, and urinates on a graffito of Farinata charred on a half-ruined wall of the old Palazzo dei Fanti. Then, after pausing to settle the scarlet feather in his cap at an angle more perfectly signalling his faction, it's off to work at the Banco McMilliano, where he pours himself a measure of spiced wine and draws up the insurance papers that allow his merchant clan to flout the canon laws proscribing usury.
posted by Iridic at 8:05 AM on September 6, 2013 [87 favorites]


Also, I think they should watch "Littlest Hobo" nonstop 24x7.

And Beachcombers. Don't forget Beachcombers.

...with Gowan playing in the background.
posted by aramaic at 8:05 AM on September 6, 2013 [14 favorites]


i kind of think they have a cartoony picture of that time as some kind of stoneage, with mullets.

Dang, I thought you said "some kind of Stonehenge with mullets" which would have put them firmly into "Spinal Tap" territory...and that would have been wonderful!

I still wonder how they got an umlaut over the n...
posted by wenestvedt at 8:08 AM on September 6, 2013


I'm throwing a little shindig at my place tonight, but I have slightly less than twenty bucks to spend on it. So, tonight I'm gonna party like it's $19.99.

thank you thank you
posted by jbickers at 8:14 AM on September 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


...he lost a business partner because he insisted on working the old-fashioned way.

“I can fax you, that’s the best I can do, but I want to meet you in person, I want to see you, I want to sit down and talk to you,” he said.

He plans on sending out resumes drafted in cursive handwriting, even though many workplaces now only take online job applications.


Baller move.
posted by Phreesh at 8:15 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh man, maybe someone could set them up a fresh server for a TELIDON system...
posted by GuyZero at 8:15 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


"There is a wooden box-like TV hooked up to an old-school Nintendo in the basement. One of Blair’s sons was busy playing a favourite childhood video game on it — Super Mario."

How is that in any way better than sitting around with an iPad?
posted by mkultra at 8:15 AM on September 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Parts of the Mennonite community in southern Ontario treat technology like it's 1886.

Yeah, but they're not doing it for just one year.

coughcoughBOOK DEALcoughcough

I think the idea of downsizing the amount of technological amusements in our lives could be a good idea. However, this particular method seems more about cosplay and less about simpler living. That makes it not a particularly good fit for me. If it works for them and their kids, hey, go for it.
posted by dubold at 8:15 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Somewhat tangential, but I was trying to figure out if the Toronto Sun still exists as a physical paper (as oppose to online-only, which would be great irony), and I saw this actual headline on the front page of their site:

Cronut burger jam wasn't properly refrigerated
posted by mkultra at 8:19 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


How is that in any way better than sitting around with an iPad?

There must be a fancy term for people who believe in the moral superiority of old things over new things.
posted by GuyZero at 8:19 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Man, all I ever did in 1986 way play on my computer, chat on BBSs, download cracked software, and trade floppies in the schoolyard at recess. That, and watch Facts Of Life on cable.

Perhaps they're thinking of 1976, though if that were the case they'd probably need to take up smoking and drinking.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 8:19 AM on September 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


In fact, Canada was the world leader in what was called, at least when I was a kid in the 70's "Cablevision"

My parents had a genius for picking the wrong technology. Our first VCR was a Betamax, and for a long time our video store was "For Beta Eyes Only".

Instead of Cablevision, we had CN, which showed a lot of its own content and a lot of syndicated stuff from elsewhere, so I didn't get American channels, but I was a dedicated fan of Captain Scarlet and the Thunderbirds. Come to think of it, I believed that about half the world in the 1970s was marionettes.

There's a ton of value in doing experiments like this for a year, because it teaches two things: what tech advantages are real advantages (no one ever went back to using a laundry ringer) and what advances offer illusory convenience (kleenex over handkerchiefs).
posted by fatbird at 8:21 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


You could write your papers on a computer in 1986. You just had to send the finished product to the 1 and only good laser printer on campus and then wait until the computer lab opened at 8 AM to go pick it up. All the other printers had that wide green and white pin fed paper. - [graduated in 1986]
posted by interplanetjanet at 8:22 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, this is awesome. For some reason I've been getting sentimental recently whenever I watch an old tv program from the 80's.

I remember having cable in 1986 because my mom would yell at me for watching MTV instead of doing homework... was this not a thing in Canada?

In 1986 I was 14, so television was the most important thing in my life in that pre-Internet time. I think the "basic cable" package we had back then included MuchMusic. My friend had Superchannel.

We did have a computer, though. We used to make "birthday banners" using the print shop program and a sheath of paper fed into the dot-matrix printer.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:26 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


The couple even refused to look at photos of their newborn niece on a relative’s iPhone.

This is just stupid. Getting your kids away from screen time and into the backyard? A good idea. Treating an iPhone like it's the work of the devil? Self-congratulatory bullshit.
posted by Dasein at 8:30 AM on September 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


Shouldn't he be wearing a Fred McGriff jersey?
posted by davebush at 8:30 AM on September 6, 2013


Cronut burger jam wasn't properly refrigerated

Cronut Burger's Maple Bacon Jam

Huh, that must be their first album.
posted by chavenet at 8:32 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


There must be a fancy term for people who believe in the moral superiority of old things over new things.

The Germans probably have one, but I can't help but think that my reaction to this is at least somewhat similar to what the boomers were thinking about me when I went through my hippie phase.

A couple years before 1986, I made a few bucks selling cheat sheets to kids in my 10th grade geometry class, printed in tiny type from my Apple ][+ so you could hide a few theorems and properties in your hand for tests. Fighting for the Users against the Master Control Program, as it were.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:35 AM on September 6, 2013


Sorry to disappoint you, but their car is modern: "The only exception to their downgraded lifestyle is their car, which remains a 2010 Kia minus a GPS."

Did they disable the airbags to experience the full impact of 1986?
posted by fairmettle at 8:38 AM on September 6, 2013 [15 favorites]


"No computers, no tablets, no smart phones, no fancy coffee machines, no Internet, no cable..."

...not a single luxury. Like TJ Hooker and Alf, they're as primitive as can be.
posted by ian1977 at 8:39 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Better rhythm if it's Alf and TJ Hooker.
posted by zippy at 8:47 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


However, the eccentric lifestyle has taken its toll on Blair’s professional life. He said he lost a business partner because he insisted on working the old-fashioned way being a slow, ineffective business partner.
posted by ian1977 at 8:49 AM on September 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


If it meant the Mets would win it all, I'd seriously consider giving this a try.
posted by languagehat at 8:50 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Better rhythm if it's Alf and TJ Hooker.

Agreed!
posted by ian1977 at 8:50 AM on September 6, 2013


Contrary to popular belief, we did have coffee machines in 1986.

Also, in many parts of Canada, you still would have been openly mocked for that mullet back then.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:55 AM on September 6, 2013


"The spirit of the 80's is alive in Guelph,
where the hair spray never runs out..."
posted by ocschwar at 8:56 AM on September 6, 2013


Contrary to popular belief, we did have coffee machines in 1986.

Yes but how fancy were they?
posted by ian1977 at 8:56 AM on September 6, 2013


Contrary to popular belief, we did have coffee machines in 1986.

Yes but how fancy were they?


Perhaps they mean the family doesn't have Keurig, but that just shows they have taste.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:58 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's easy to snicker at their specific decisions, but here is a fairly mainstream family doing something significant—they're actively making decisions about what technology to adopt, and considering the tradeoffs, rather than just plugging in to the near universal assumption that increasingly complex technology is good by definition. Seems to me a good approach for managing everyday life as the world overall moves into post-growth, and certainly they're better off for going through the exercise even if they buy another iPad at the end of the year.

I didn't care for the comment below the article that said "This was taken too far the minute it harmed his career." Talk about a blind value judgment. Since when does a career have to be more important than quality of life inside the family?

I quit buying Mach iii cartridges and now shave with a 1950s safety razor whose blades have no plastic and cost 15 cents each. Does that make me some sort of a throwback? Also, french press FTW. My co-workers (in my software job) complain about their Keurigs malfunctioning....
posted by maniabug at 9:00 AM on September 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


I dunno, if you can't make prefab soup in your coffee machine, is it a coffee machine worth having?

(also, goddammit, I have the Littlest Hobo theme song stuck in my head now. Thanks a lot Chris Makepeace, you bastard.)
posted by aramaic at 9:01 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


There must be a fancy term for people who believe in the moral superiority of old things over new things.

In the comic Templar, Az they're called Pastimes, and it's usually associated with some oddball beliefs, like rejecting female suffrage, the germ theory of disease, or speaking Latin exclusively.
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Speaking of razors - while i have not gone as far as a straight-edge (though I've thought about it), I have taken to using shave soap, an let me tell you that shit lasts forever. There's a reason they push that gel shit on you, and it's not because it lasts a long time, or it's a "smooth shave" or whatever. It's slick, indeed, slick marketing to make you think it's better than a shave soap that will last a year of full day in day out every day shaving.
posted by symbioid at 9:03 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]



Contrary to popular belief, we did have coffee machines in 1986.

Yes but how fancy were they?

Perhaps they mean the family doesn't have Keurig, but that just shows they have taste.


For fancy coffee in those days you didn't even need a fancy machine cuz this
posted by ian1977 at 9:03 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's easy to snicker at their specific decisions, but here is a fairly mainstream family doing something significant—they're actively making decisions about what technology to adopt, and considering the tradeoffs, rather than just plugging in to the near universal assumption that increasingly complex technology is good by definition.

I don't think that "banning everything since 1986" really counts as actively making decisions. It's making one decision and sticking to it. Honestly, the fact that the Dad and both kids have mullets makes it feel kind of like a stunt. (But then again, it could just be a Dad-style joke.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:04 AM on September 6, 2013


And gimme the ol' Bell Rotary! (I have a friend who has one of those in her home, and doesn't have any internet in her house).

I have no cell phone - on purpose...

There are plenty of people who choose to forego various technologies, whether by choice or necessity (or paranoia - which I suppose is choice).
posted by symbioid at 9:05 AM on September 6, 2013


Well..I am sitting next to a black Bakerlite rotatary phone a wood paneled dial radio in excellent working condition, maybe I shouldn't judge.
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, all I ever did in 1986 way play on my computer, chat on BBSs, download cracked software, and trade floppies in the schoolyard at recess.

"Schoolyard"? Nowadays the converted Taco Bell that houses your charter school has a parking lot with a plastic playset from Walmart in it. Huh. "Schoolyard".
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:06 AM on September 6, 2013


These guys are going to be so disappointed when they try to catch a Nordiques game on Hockey Night in Canada.
posted by GuyZero at 9:07 AM on September 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


Hey, at least the Jets are back!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:08 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


My vanilla phone on a copper pair works great during a power outage. And so does my mullet ;)
posted by maniabug at 9:09 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Calling out 1986 as a cut-off date may have been a rhetorical mistake, because, as many folks have pointed out, some of us did have computers, bbs/usenet and cable in 1986. I took an online college course in 1986! And they're probably still using, for example, car seats that weren't in as wide use then, and so on. Maybe just say they're "going analog"?

This is really just an extreme version of the parents who refused to have a TV in the house. (I knew such a family in 1986 as it happens.) Is that still a thing?
posted by Karmakaze at 9:18 AM on September 6, 2013


Of course it's still a thing. Do some parents try to claim the moral high ground in their child-rearing techniques? Always has been yes, always will be yes.
posted by GuyZero at 9:22 AM on September 6, 2013


It's easy to snicker at their specific decisions, but here is a fairly mainstream family doing something significant—they're actively making decisions about what technology to adopt, and considering the tradeoffs, rather than just plugging in to the near universal assumption that increasingly complex technology is good by definition.

While I guess setting an arbitrary year could be classified that way it's not a very nuanced consideration of trade offs. I was 14 in 1986 so I remember and can appreciate how much better some things are now. I mean cripes the plain paper fax didn't debut until 1987 and anyone who doesn't think that is a vast improvement never used a heat paper fax.
posted by Mitheral at 9:23 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


These guys are going to be so disappointed when they try to catch a Nordiques game on Hockey Night in Canada.

"This isn't Hockey Night in Canada! The music's all wrong!"
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:26 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's easy to snicker at their specific decisions, but here is a fairly mainstream family doing something significant—they're actively making decisions about what technology to adopt, and considering the tradeoffs, rather than just plugging in to the near universal assumption that increasingly complex technology is good by definition.

No, they're deliberately doing something very weird (defining 1986 as an arbitrary cut-off point for, inexplicably, non-automotive technology they're willing to directly use outside of work), to the point that it's detrimental to their finances, rather than just being rational parents and saying "Hey, five-year-old son of mine, technology time is over for today, go outside". Which is what parents in 1986 did when their kid didn't want to stop playing Nintendo.
posted by cmonkey at 9:30 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, I think they should watch "Littlest Hobo" nonstop 24x7.

And Beachcombers. Don't forget Beachcombers.


No need to get vicious.
posted by yoink at 9:31 AM on September 6, 2013


So are they going to blog about it, or what?
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:31 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Am I the only one who thinks that this is ultra-cool?

Don't get me wrong - I love my internet and all. But strong decisions that change your life always add texture to your existence. Chewy is good.

And note the reason - they couldn't get the kids out of the house because they were nose-deep into a computer. This is a DANGER WILL ROBINSON moment - kids should be spending most of their time outside in the summer, running around and doing kid stuff, not becoming adults on the internet.

My sister has kids (and coincidentally lives in Guelph) and she keeps the deliberately cut off from almost all electronic gadgets for exactly the same reason. There's one TV in the house, and they leave it off most of the time. Dad has a cellphone, but no one else does, and I've never actually seen him use it. There's internet and even wireless and a laptop but not used so often - and never by the kids.

I personally have never owned a TV, and I'm 51 years old. Since I got married, I started watching old TV shows and movies on Netflix, which is something like a TV, but before that I only saw TV in hotel rooms and the like. And I try not make a big deal of this. Indeed, I'm not sure if my friends realize that this is the case.

The internet is a drug. TV is a drug. You can get a lot of benefits from both, but they're highly addictive. I lose a lot of my life to my internet addiction. Unfortunately, I write computer programs, so it's hard to get away from it...

I often get asked the question, "How do you know all these things?" My answer is always, "I read a lot," but I'm always tempted to say, "Scrap your TV."
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:32 AM on September 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm Canadian, and I do the same thing, only the year I've chosen is 2012. Next year I plan on bumping it up a year.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:37 AM on September 6, 2013


St. Peepsburg: So are they going to blog about it, or what?

It's all going down in an old-fashioned journal now, written in home-made ink with a feather quill. But after April 2014 when their year "baaaaack in tiiiiiiiiime" is over, they'll re-enact the whole thing as delayed live-tweets. Stay tuned!
posted by filthy light thief at 9:37 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Every day, I go for a walk past a small rectangular parking lot, enclosed on all sides by a chain link fence. It's almost always empty and open for anyone to enter. I'm a 51 year old Canadian and I can say with certainty that in the days of my youth - this would have very quickly become the local Maple Leaf Gardens of road hockey - it's an absolutely perfect venue for that. And yet now - it sits empty, day after day. Kids really should get outside more.
posted by davebush at 9:39 AM on September 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


My sister has kids (and coincidentally lives in Guelph) and she keeps the deliberately cut off from almost all electronic gadgets for exactly the same reason. There's one TV in the house, and they leave it off most of the time.

That's the difference, for me. I think it does more for the kids to have things, but not use them all the time. We have a TV but no cable, so the TV is usually off. But we get local stations, including PBS. Our little guy watches TV, but he often loses interest in the TV shows, so he'll wander off and play games on his own.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:40 AM on September 6, 2013


Everybody should get outside more. Doesn't mean they can't take take pictures of cool crap with their smartphones while they're there, then text their friends to say, "Why aren't you outside with me?! Look at this cool crap I found!"
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:41 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm a 51 year old Canadian and I can say with certainty that in the days of my youth - this would have very quickly become the local Maple Leaf Gardens of road hockey

Are you sure it's not because after 10 minutes some security guard would come along and chase them away? I know a lot of my friends in their 30s and 40s would be out there otherwise, let alone kids.


Also, Maple Leaf Gardens. Now I has a sad.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:52 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Are you sure it's not because after 10 minutes some security guard would come along and chase them away?

Nope - as far as I can tell, it's not monitored at all.
posted by davebush at 9:53 AM on September 6, 2013


And totally empty you say? Whereabouts might this be?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:55 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


coughcoughBOOK DEALcoughcough

Yeah, exactly. I'm gonna pull a Paul Anka.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:57 AM on September 6, 2013


I'm not even sure I knew the world mullet in 1986. It was just hockey hair then.
posted by bonehead at 10:01 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


He plans on sending out resumes drafted in cursive handwriting

Whaaaat? He's aware they had typewriters -- hell, word processors, anyone remember those? -- plus Xerox machines, fax machines, the whole paper-office bit, in 1986?

I think he's confusing 1986 with 1886.

I remember my father's big corporate office, which existed at a mid-80s level of technology (arguably earlier) for a surprisingly long time. It was labor intensive as hell -- they still had a typing pool, and trained secretaries who took dictation at faster-than-realtime speeds, and a small army of mailroom guys and file clerks who existed just to move paper from place to place -- but it wasn't the Dark Ages. (You could draft up a document, send it out for review, get a redlined draft back, approve/disapprove them, get a final draft, then publish it ... all in not much more time than you can do it today in Word. It just took the labor of perhaps 3 or 4 extra people who have now all been "made redundant". Such is progress.)

If you're going to pick an arbitrary date for your technology, at least be consistent in it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:09 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had a really sad moment a few years ago - I think I mentioned it on the blue.

It was the summer and I was at some sort of noise concert at the old Silent Barn (the new one is even better!) and I went out walking to get some air.

A block or two away I went past this super nice new public gym for kids - a big basketball court. It was open, the door was invitingly wide, and it was all lit up. And there were only two or three kids there.

I was baffled... where were they? And then I had a sudden vision of everyone in front of glowing rectangles somewhere...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:11 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


If he likes fax machines so much, he should move to Japan. I think I've mentioned this before, but I had to fax an email. In 2012, I had to fax an email.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:18 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I started high school in 1986 and lived in rural southern Ontario. We had a satellite dish, cordless phones, we were on our 4th generation home computer (IBM with dot matrix printer), which had a modem (BBS!), a laptop with a thermal ink-jet printer, VCR, laser disk player, CD player, etc. The only really accurate thing about this is no cell phone.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:23 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Very occasionally I'll be told I need to fax something. I'd have an easier time if they asked me to ship it via Incan Mail Runner.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 10:27 AM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


From The Record

The social experiment is part of a documentary film project that McMillan is undertaking, one that is not without some dependency on contemporary technology. He is currently looking for a film-maker to take over the project, and perhaps a writer to chronicle the experience.

"We're in the middle of the documentary now," he said. "It's about reconnecting, and basically disconnecting from technology to reconnect with friends and family."


Uh-huh. I'm sure their reasons were totally altruistic.
posted by lyssabee at 10:29 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is pretty similar to Paul Miller from The Verge spending a year without using the Internet (MetaFilter thread).

I always thought 1992 House would make a great reality show along the lines of Colonial House and 1900 House.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:37 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


My first reaction was also: "But I had email and usenet and .... blah blah blah.... in 1986".

But if we drop the pedantry about what exactly (a few) people had in 1986, there's quite an interesting tale here.

The change has been good for their family’s spirit as well, Morgan said.

“We’re just closer, there’s more talking,” she said.


A while back I saw this. Check out slide 9 that shows pics of a concert in the 1990s and one now. Caption: "Long ago people danced at concerts, now they video / click / share / tweet..." Certainly gave me pause for thought.
posted by philipy at 10:45 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


1986 was the era of Dos 3.1 (the start of really good versions of DOS---3.3 was a high point). The AT was the business standard of the day, but likely too expensive for most people. A university student would typically have an 8088/XT with their choice of monochome amber or green display. If you were using what came to be called office software, it was likely WordPerfect (4.x, one of the great versions, prior to the sale to Corel) with Lotus 1-2-3 and possibly Harvard Graphics. A strong minority of kids had Selectric typewriters too.

If you were very lucky, you might have access to a first-generation Mac, but a hs student in that era would much more likely have an Apple ][ or Apple ][gs or even an ][c with some version of ProDOS. Amiga was a popular choice too, as was Commodore and the TRS-80 could still be found in many places.

Text adventure games were just past the eclipse of their popularity, with Sierra point-and-click games being on the rise. Nethack was the hot new game all the cool university kids were playing. On your nintendo, you were probably playing Legend of Zelda, a Donkey Kong sequel, perhaps a Mario game, maybe Metroid.
posted by bonehead at 10:47 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think if you're going to do something like this, the couple have picked the right time in his kids' lives to do it. Something like this when the kids are in school would just be disastrous.
posted by Lucinda at 10:48 AM on September 6, 2013


We really need to start taking words like "addicted" and "dependent" more seriously.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:52 AM on September 6, 2013


My first reaction was also: "But I had email and usenet and .... blah blah blah.... in 1986".

But if we drop the pedantry about what exactly (a few) people had in 1986, there's quite an interesting tale here.


I think the problem is that he's glorifying the past. While I think it's great that his family has largely unplugged and is spending more time together and outside, 1986 was not some golden age. This sort of stunty, selective time tourism glosses over the problems that the people who lived during this era faced. Do you have any idea how many times I was eaten by a grue in 1986?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:54 AM on September 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


So, I think going without TV and cable is a great idea. In fact, I'm really not knocking any of what they're actually doing, since most of it is a great idea. We recently canceled cable completely and just watch shows occasionally on Roku or computers, and it has been a great thing for our family to have eliminated the whole notion of just watching whatever's on or having unscheduled TV watching time for the kids. And eliminating toy commercials from my kids' lives? Yeah, that's huge - like how you don't realize how bad a bad relationship is until you're out of it.

But that stuff isn't "living like it's 1986." I was a teenager in 1986 about a 3-hour drive from Guelph and we had cable, we had TV, we had CDs and a big stereo and more books than just the encyclopedia.

Also, if it's supposed to be 1986, that guy needs to cut about a foot of length off of those shorts, get a way smaller shirt, and get the handlebars off of his mustache. I mean come on. If you're gonna cosplay, do it right.
posted by The World Famous at 10:56 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


C'mon. If they're going to be that strict about their "rules" I would hope they're not cheating by driving a car less than 27 years old.

Ideally, a Pontiac Grand Am.
posted by Kabanos at 11:00 AM on September 6, 2013


At least he should let his kids play Zelda. Culture can never start too early.
posted by bonehead at 11:00 AM on September 6, 2013




That's funny because I lived in Guelph in the late eighties and it was like the seventies.
posted by srboisvert at 11:03 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


He is 27 so presumably he was born in '86? So is this like an infantilizing thing? A self-annihilation sort of thing? Or just coincidence?
posted by ian1977 at 11:09 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's funny because I lived in Guelph in the late eighties and it was like the seventies.

Last time I went through downtown Guelph it looked pretty unchanged from 1986, so yeah, Guelph.
posted by GuyZero at 11:11 AM on September 6, 2013


wenestvedt: "I still wonder how they got an umlaut over the n..."

Like this: Spın̈al Tap.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:18 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh for fuck's sake. My kid has a smart phone, and a netbook, and a wiiu, and a 3DS and he enjoys all of those things. But he also plays piano, and reads books, and rides his bike, and builds Lego, and has lightsaber duels, and plays Scrabble. Do you know why? Because he has a MOM and a DAD who tell him to put down the ___________ and go do something. And we mean it. Taking away everyone's toys doesn't show me how awesome you are. It shows me how unimaginative and inflexible you are as parents.

And really, I can't get behind this notion that we're so disconnected because of technology. Yesterday I showed that fox music video to 3 different people and had 3 different conversations about it. Only one of those conversations was in person. I laughed real, honest laughter as a result of all of those conversations. Don't tell me I wasn't connected to my friends and family during our asynchronous sharing of that ridiculously amazing song.
posted by Biblio at 11:18 AM on September 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think their choices are silly, but I do appreciate seeing the word "Guelph" over and over again.

Guelph Guelph Guelph Guelph Guelph
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:19 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


He is 27 so presumably he was born in '86? So is this like an infantilizing thing? A self-annihilation sort of thing? Or just coincidence?

The article says he picked '86 because that was the year they was born, and:

“We’re parenting our kids the same way we were parented for a year just to see what it’s like,” Blair said.

If that's the case, he should've picked either 1988 (when he was 2, like his youngest) or 1992 (like when he was 5, like his oldest).
posted by Lucinda at 11:19 AM on September 6, 2013


The thing I remember most about being 14 years old in Canada in 1986 was (well there are a few things):

- Staying up late on Saturday night to watch SNL with Phil Hartman, and then Monty Python reruns on the Seattle PBS affiliate

- Trying to somehow keep track of the Mutant Massacre across multiple comics and irritating the shit out of the Comic Book Guy who ran the comic store next to 7-11 (Sev burgers!) and Crazy Mike's Video

- Listening to Seattle's KISW 99.9FM every morning and every night (no FM classic rock station in my Canadian town until 1987, and it sucked then and sucks today), especially "Metal Shop" every Wednesday night, while reading Silver Age sci-fi paperbacks bought second-hand from the floor-to-ceiling stacks of sci-fi at Snowden's, now long gone.

- Watching my first porn video ever, C-Hunt (with Ron Jeremy), furtively smuggled into my parents' house from Bob Mah's house next to middle school. It would be many many more months before my middle-school self would get to see porn again (unless encountered, rain-soaked and faded, in the woods on the walk home).

Good times for pop culture, although Girls on Film (nsfw) had already been out for five years!
posted by KokuRyu at 11:28 AM on September 6, 2013


I believe in southern ontario in 1986 I may have found porn in the woods.
posted by GuyZero at 11:30 AM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's cute as a stunt, but I don't see anything that firmer parental rules (and self-discipline) couldn't solve. We have a set period each day our kids are allowed TV/computer usage, and that's it.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:32 AM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


kids should be spending most of their time outside in the summer, running around and doing kid stuff, not becoming adults on the internet.

Yeah, as a kid I had the worst environmental allergies and was a lot more interested in staying indoors and reading books or, after a certain age, messing with the computer. You can be a kid on the internet (or whatever online service I had by that point) and beg your mom to take you to the library more often and still be a kid.

Allergy medication's gotten much better and I'm a reasonably well-adjusted adult who likes doing things outdoors now.

Remember when "kid stuff" meant doing field chores or working in a garment factory? Yeah, me neither, although that's not the case for a lot of the world's population.

brb going to go walk outside in the sunshine like a cranky old man
posted by mikeh at 11:34 AM on September 6, 2013


I certainly had a computer in 1986 though without the intertubes being invented yet all I could do was write poetry and short stories on it and print them out on my crappy dot matrix printer. Made some money word processing papers for students for a buck a page. (How I do not miss WordStar.)

Oh yeah, and play Starflight.
posted by aught at 11:38 AM on September 6, 2013


He is 27 so presumably he was born in '86? So is this like an infantilizing thing? A self-annihilation sort of thing? Or just coincidence?

The article says he picked '86 because that was the year they was born, and:

“We’re parenting our kids the same way we were parented for a year just to see what it’s like,” Blair said.

If that's the case, he should've picked either 1988 (when he was 2, like his youngest) or 1992 (like when he was 5, like his oldest).


Why is it that every time we have a post about someone dealing with modern life by growing a mullet, refusing to look at baby pictures and handwriting cursive resumes he gets told, "you're doing it wrong"?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:40 AM on September 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


I believe in southern ontario in 1986 I may have found porn in the woods.

I definitely did in 1986, in southern Ontario. Winona. Scout camping trip.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:42 AM on September 6, 2013


Very occasionally I'll be told I need to fax something. I'd have an easier time if they asked me to ship it via Incan Mail Runner.


No, I ain't got a fax machine! I also ain't got an Apple IIc, polio, or a falcon!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:52 AM on September 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


FWIW, in Canada in 1986 (at least where I lived) there was no such word as "mullet." We called it "hockey hair."

"Mullet" is an American import, likely thanks to Lyin' Brian's hated Free Trade.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:52 AM on September 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


FWIW, in Canada in 1986 (at least where I lived) there was no such word as "mullet." We called it "hockey hair."

FWIW, in Detroit in 1986 there was also no such word as "mullet." And we just called it "hair," because "hockey" was a given.
posted by The World Famous at 11:55 AM on September 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


"I would rather hand deliver a message to you in person, sealed with wax, then use a fax machine."

Save yourself some time and just do one or the other.
posted by Eideteker at 11:59 AM on September 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


What bugs me about this is how the decision to go luddite was reached. It sounds like the dad was bugged by his kid playing on the ipad and made the decision to ban all gadgets and tech by himself. The mother doesn't sound quite as much of a fan of the decision as the dad. To me, it sounds like another guy dragging his family on some quixotic mission for 'authenticity'. I would say mid-life crisis, but he's a bit young for that.

Banning tech doesn't make you a better (or worse) person. Thinking that it makes you a better person makes you a worse one.
posted by clockworkjoe at 12:00 PM on September 6, 2013


If those kids were a little older, I'm guessing they'd be spending all their free time at a friend's house visiting their gadgets.

I spent a lot of time typing on a word processor and playing PC games in 1986. Still no fancy coffee machine for me, though.
posted by dragonplayer at 12:01 PM on September 6, 2013


To me, it sounds like another guy dragging his family on some quixotic mission for 'authenticity'.

It will probably end just like Mosquito Coast.

But with more ice.
posted by hap_hazard at 12:06 PM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


(kleenex over handkerchiefs)

No, handkerchiefs are gross.
posted by smidgen at 12:08 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


>To me, it sounds like another guy dragging his family on some quixotic mission for 'authenticity'.

It will probably end just like Mosquito Coast.

But with more ice.


Or mashed potatoes.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:17 PM on September 6, 2013


you have any idea how many times I was eaten by a grue in 1986?

I don't even know what a grue is.

To be serious though, while I'm hardly likely to do anything like this any more than to try to go all Amish, like with the Amish there's plenty to reflect on here about what we've lost alongside what we've gained. And importantly whether there's ways to get some of it back without pretending it's 1986 again.

To take one thing that's been on my mind lately, back in the 1990s, I would have known a heck of a lot more about what was happening in Rwanda than with my soccer team. Because of reading newspapers, following TV & radio analysis etc. Today it's super-easy to tune out of knowing anything about Syria, and spend all my time obsessively following the minutiae of what's happening with the soccer team or MMO of my choice.

I ask myself: "When and how did I become a guy that is more addicted to knowing about Mesut Ozil than concerned about crimes against humanity? And what am I going to do about it?"

The when-and-how has a lot to do with tech and (social) media developments.

The what-to-do part.... I don't have the answer yet, but the very fact that it's something that needs to be consciously handled is problematic in itself. Like having to consciously think about exercising versus just being fit because you don't have a car to take you everywhere and your work involves daily physical activity.

cf John McCain playing iPhone games during hearings on Syria. At first I was astonished to see that, but on reflection I'm thinking it's indicative of what's happening to a lot of us, and prob not a thing that is for the better.
posted by philipy at 12:19 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are you kidding me? Mesut Özil is literally the most important thing that has happened to humanity since a late Michael Thomas goal at Anfield in 1989.


He spent some money! By God, he spent some money!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:25 PM on September 6, 2013


bonehead: I'm not even sure I knew the world mullet in 1986. It was just hockey hair then.

It still is, brother, it still is: http://www.youtube.com/user/Pulltabproductions11
posted by wenestvedt at 12:39 PM on September 6, 2013


philipy: "I don't even know what a grue is."

Being eaten by a grue is a reference to the 1980 computer game Zork.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:43 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd have an easier time if they asked me to ship it via Incan Mail Runner.

Chasquis are awesome!!! So are quipus!
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:44 PM on September 6, 2013


Mesut Özil is literally the most important thing that has happened to humanity since a late Michael Thomas goal at Anfield in 1989.

To be fair, prior to that the most important thing was also by (Philip) Michael Thomas.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:49 PM on September 6, 2013


... I do appreciate seeing the word "Guelph" over and over again.

Me too. Especially when I picture it being said over and over again by Gomer Pyle.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 1:19 PM on September 6, 2013


The only really accurate thing about this is no cell phone.

my elementary school principal had to give me a ride home in her car one day and she had a big weird looking box in her car with a phone coming out of it

she said it was her cell phone

this was 1964

yes, this was a thing
posted by pyramid termite at 2:04 PM on September 6, 2013


“We’re parenting our kids the same way we were parented for a year just to see what it’s like,” Blair said.

i'm glad my parents never did that - between my father making me shovel coal into the furnace and my mother making me get up at 5 to milk the cows and feed the chickens by kerosene lamp, i'd have been miserable

not to mention that the sears wish list catalog would have all disappeared into the outhouse hole by the time it was xmas
posted by pyramid termite at 2:12 PM on September 6, 2013


my elementary school principal had to give me a ride home in her car one day and she had a big weird looking box in her car with a phone coming out of it

she said it was her cell phone

this was 1964

yes, this was a thing


There were mobile phones in cars prior to cellular technology, but they were commonly referred to as car phones. The one your principal had probably used the Radio Common Carrier service in the 1960's.
posted by fairmettle at 3:41 PM on September 6, 2013


The dream of the 80's is alive in Canada?

This kind of sounds like what they were doing in this book to try and do mental time travel.

Well, it's an interesting idea. Though frankly. I can't say I'm surprised the dude can't find a job as long as he refuses to use modern technology. There aren't going to be too many places that are going to be okay with that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:09 PM on September 6, 2013


Okay, so the article does sound like they're making kind of a stunt out of it and I guess I'm not surprised that a bunch of people who spend a great deal of time reading and commenting on the Internet would poo-poo it but I can't be the only one who's not so sure that living so much of their life plugged in to various electronics is a good thing.

Isn't anyone else overwhelmed by how much of everything there is now available via the internets? Or frightened by their shrinking attention spans? As a kid, I would sit around for days and just write a book or something. As an internet dependent adult, my ability to concentrate is way too fractured for that. I'm pretty sure adult onset ADD didn't used to be a thing.

At any rate, I'm finding the idea of moving backwards a bit technologically very appealing lately. It's hard to figure out where exactly to draw the line though between technology that is legitimately helpful and that which is just distracting you from real life.
posted by Jess the Mess at 4:18 PM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh like you where using your attension span in the first place.
posted by The Whelk at 4:23 PM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Eh....I am in situations pretty frequently around my relatives (or just being in the sticks) where I don't have Internet access. I sit around reading books, pretty much like I did before the Internet. My attention span is fine without computers, apparently.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:25 PM on September 6, 2013


I still wonder how they got an umlaut over the n...

wenestvedt
if you ever need an umlaut...
posted by fuzzypantalones at 5:56 PM on September 6, 2013


Yeah, just met someone yesterday who drew his first pay-cheque writing computer games for the ZX Spectrum+ in the 1980's.
posted by the cydonian at 6:43 PM on September 6, 2013


Guelph Family Acts All Guelph
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:50 AM on September 6


Having been born and raised in Guelph, I opened the article saw where the family was from and thought "Of course they are!"

For example, sometime around 1992, around 6 years too late for this experiment, I contributed to an 'underground' high school newspaper named "The Dissident". It was typed up (*maybe* on a computer but I can't be sure) stories written by students with pseudonyms, photocopied at the university library and sold at various high schools for a quarter.

It's an odd town, with an interesting balance of influences. Very agricultural surrounding mixed in with a counter-culture vibe embedded from the university.
posted by aclevername at 6:45 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The fun thing about this recurrent nonsense about how technology is dehumanising or disconnecting us in some way is that it goes all the fucking way back to Plato who held that written knowledge was severely inferior to face to face discourse, to the extent that the only true measure of truth and knowledge was the ability to argue it in person. In the Phraedus he even argues that writing destroys memory, nasty, nasty writing. He was lucky he was wrong or else we'd likely have no clue who he was and what his ideas were.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 7:00 PM on September 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I clearly recall having a 'fancy coffee machine' in 1986. Well, maybe not that fancy, but no less fancy than the one I own now.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:00 PM on September 6, 2013


I can admire what they're trying to do, but sometimes? You just need a cell phone.

Pay phones are practically gone, because of the ubiquity of cell phones. And because of smart phones, some info that normally would be paper based, like bus schedules, are also becoming obsolete, as most people have some sort of smart phone. Pay phones and paper bus schedules were a lot more common in 1986, as well as other low tech solutions that have become nearly unused now.

I got bit by this a couple of years ago, when traveling to Vancouover, BC. My phone is on T-Mobile. I got turned around in a neighborhood, and I wanted to take a bus back to the SkyTrain. I found a bus stop, which listed the bus route...and no schedule. Instead, there was a number to call to find out when the latest bus was coming. There was room to put a paper schedule, but they didn't do that. I was loath to make an international roaming call just to find out when the bus was coming - so my only option was to wait. 58 minutes later, that bus came. If it was 1986, I bet that there would have been a paper schedule.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:10 AM on September 7, 2013


Hmmm, I think your experience is more to do with the incompetence of Translink than anything else.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:23 AM on September 7, 2013


Shameless commenting without having RTFA, but the description of "living like it's 1986" called to mind a fun book I read last year: Ready Player One.

The premise is that the Steve Jobs-ish creator of the 2044 virtual reality version of the internet wanted to turn over the keys to his empire to an ordinary kid (provided he proves himself worthy), Willy Wonka style. But instead of golden tickets in candy bar wrappers and booby-traps, he used puzzles based on '80s nerd culture trivia, hidden inside his virtual world. Solving the puzzles is how you prove your mettle and win the prize.

So there's a whole culture of kids in 2044 playing '80s Atari and arcade games and watching '80s movies and listening to '80s music... Not unplugged at all, the message is more like "the technology of the '80s was the coolest technology."

Anyway, people in this thread might like the book. The family in the FPP probably wouldn't, so much.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:29 PM on September 7, 2013


Pssst kids! Get an Amiga 1000 off eBay with your allowance and I'll point you to all the good BBSs.
posted by pashdown at 10:18 AM on September 8, 2013


“I remember the day before we started this, I was a wreck and I was like ‘I can’t believe I have to delete my Facebook!’” she said.

Don't worry, Sister, you'll need all that extra time for embiggening your hair.

(also, goddammit, I have the Littlest Hobo theme song stuck in my head now.

Me, too, dammit. Harmonica part and all.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on...

FWIW, in Canada in 1986 (at least where I lived) there was no such word as "mullet." We called it "hockey hair."

Yeah, I grew up near Niagara Falls, NY, and that's what we called it, too. When we called it anything, becasue it was just the default hairstyle for so many for so long.

They're obviously not professional historians (maybe they're relying on their parents' memories?), but it sounds like they're having fun with it as a family, and it also sounds like they're doing OK. They've set a time limit, and while they're on a single income for now, it sounds like that single income is sufficient for their current needs. They were able to fit a road trip into their budget, which is more than a lot of families can do right now. I say rock it, you weirdos.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:56 AM on September 9, 2013


This family was on the news yesterday morning. I loved how the kid was playing with the Nintendo.
posted by dragonplayer at 7:09 AM on September 9, 2013


How was he playing it?
posted by Eideteker at 9:31 AM on September 10, 2013


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