Call Me SpyKids

I won’t lie, I love playing an online game every now and then. It is a great way to relax (until I start hurling abuse at my monitor directed at somebody else behind their monitor) and enjoy being better than somebody else at something. This being said my parents aren’t quite so impressed by my ‘love’ for playing games. Almost everybody who lives with their parents and plays games is used to hearing things like, “why would you pay for games? It is a waste of money”, or “Why don’t you go outside and do something, maybe catch up with some of your friends?” and of course, the classic, “you don’t make any real friends online, they are just a stranger behind a screen”. Although I have a million or more answers to these questions that I have rehearsed and used more times than I could hope to count I’m using this post to take a look at the third big point about how they aren’t really your friends, and I’m going to do this by telling you the story about the first time I met a ‘gaming friend’, in real life.

I play a lot of different online games, most of which have a competitive nature, so naturally I was drawn to games such as CS:GO (Counter Strike Global Offensive) and League of Legends. When I had started out playing League towards the end of 2015 I found a group of people who always played together that were both fun to play with, and fun to talk to so I naturally gravitated towards the group. One day while we were playing they invited somebody I didn’t know yet, I just assumed they were part of the group and we started playing. Since I played ADC and Vey (the person who had just joined) played support (the only duo lane in the game) we began playing together more often, slowly getting to know each other better. We kept playing together either with, or without, the rest of the group once or twice a week for a few months until just before my 18th birthday I randomly got a message asking where I was in the city from Vey after my cousin had posted something to my Facebook wall while we were having lunch. And so, after lunch, we met up.

When you interact a lot with people from behind a screen you learn very quickly how to not assume anything from their voice and because of this it was certainly a strange experience to put a face, to the voice. After the initial awkwardness of actually meeting someone you were so friendly with online and not being sure whether you should be acting the same way in person the rest of the day went pretty much as any normal catch up with friends might go. We continued to catch up face to face even as we started to play League less and less as each of us began to grow tired of the game but there was one thing that didn’t change which is pretty surprising (although I suppose makes sense if you think about it). We always used the other persons gamertag to refer to each other. Vey, is a year younger than me, and in the 2 and a half years I have known her I still don’t know what her actual name is, I think she told me once, but I promptly forgot. My online name is always some variation on SpyKids2IsAnAlrightMovie, shortened in this case to SpyKids. I don’t think it is wrong that we don’t bother to remember each others real names because we know each other by our online names, and there is no reason not to use them. Although you do tend to get some strange looks from people when you hear someone calling out SpyKids at the top of their voice to try to get my attention.

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1950’s-60’s Cinema

Earlier this week I spoke to both my mum and my dad about what the cinema was like when they were younger. They both had completely different perspectives as they both went to the cinema for very different reasons. They both talked about how when they used to visit drive in cinemas how there were different ways to get the sound of the movie into the car. For my mum she remembered how you parked next to a pole where you would wind down your window and hook a speaker to the car window before putting the window back up again, while my dad told me about how you would park next to the same kind of pole, except attach a chord to the antenna on the top of your car and then set your radio to a specific frequency to listen to the movie. Neither my mum or my dad had spent much time in outdoor cinemas but did mention once while they were younger they went to an outdoor cinema where they had long benches for people to sit on in many rows looking at a big screen in Broome. Both decided they didn’t overly like the experience and decided not to go again.

Normal indoor cinemas was the topic both my mum, and my dad, had a lot to say about with varying experiences of the cinemas between the two which mostly took place when they were in their early teens to early twenties. They described how cinemas used to be a very common things with single screen cinemas in every second, if not every suburb. They also spoke about how many cinemas were like a home business and they mentioned how one cinema in Rockdale always seemed to have a cat roaming around that enjoyed sitting on peoples laps for pats during showings. Since these cinemas only had one screen they would often only show one or two movies a day and would cycle these two same movies every evening for up to a month before switching to the next movie although they never really checked if different cinemas in another suburb showed a different movie during the same month. But possible most surprising to me was the idea that every movie had an intermission, presumably to make you buy things, as they would have somebody walking around selling ice-cream and other lollies while opening up the candy bar for people to purchase from. Although we still do have intermission in things like plays I still found this quite surprising because I have never been to a movie before that required an intermission (although I do know that some of the really long movies put one in).

My dad seemed to go to the cinema a lot more than my mum did because after my mum met her now ex-husband she tended to go out to clubs and pubs in her spare time to listen to the band he played in. But my dad said he would go out to the movies at least once a month whether it was with friends from school/university or with a girl that he was dating at the time. After hearing during one of my tutorials at university that there was a culture of… Less than PG things happening in cinemas a fair bit I decided to bring up the topic with my dad. After taking a few minutes to gather his composure when I asked him with a straight out whether he had sex or had seen someone having sex in a cinema he eventually said that there was certainly a culture of, passionate, encounters which would often include kissing and groping but said he had never heard stories of people actually having sex. When I pushed further and asked about oral sex he also said no, but the 5 second pause he took before answering and his almost instant breaking of eye contact makes me think otherwise.

Online Generation

I was born on October 30, 1998 and depending on where you come from I could be described as a millennial, post-millennial or a part of generation Z. Although I was brought up without much interaction with technology such as television, computers, phones, etc. compared to most, I still consider devices such as my phone and my laptop to be, not necessarily the most important, but most used objects in my day-to-day life.

Up until my 10th birthday my only interactions with electronic devices was the occasional cartoon on weekends or playing games on my parents computer (which I can’t remember the exact names of anymore) like a program with a Spongebob theme which taught me how to type and a Harry Potter game which honestly, scared the shit out of me, but that didn’t stop me from playing it. After my 10th birthday I received my first console, the Nintendo Wii, then on my 13th (or 14th) birthday a was given a PlayStation 3 and a mobile phone for my High-school years. My first phone was a brick Nokia that my dad had used for a few years but after about a year and a half I upgraded to another Nokia which had a touch screen and a flip out full keyboard which I kept until year 10 when I got my first iPhone for free as part of the plan that I was on with Vodafone. About halfway through year 10 my high school at Newington College they decided to sell laptops to all students in year 9 and above and iPads to all students in year 7 and 8. Before then I had never really used much technology like that simply because I hadn’t grown up around it, but after getting an iPhone and a Macbook Pro in the same year, that changed very quickly.

Today I use my laptop and phone for just about everything. At work I use my laptop or the work computer to sort through and organise class details, check invoices, make bookings and various other admin tasks. I use my laptop at university to take notes, research topics from lectures and make reminders about when different things need to be submitted. And of course, at home, where I spend upwards of 80% of my time when I’m not sleeping on my laptop, whether it be for work, university work or leisure activities such as watching YouTube, watching Netflix, playing games or just browsing sites like Facebook to “pass time” (procrastinate about work). Considering I already spend so much time online or using my computer it doesn’t help that most phones today are essentially just small computers in your pocket and at the very least I am guilty of using my phone at pretty much any moment I am away from my computer (As I wake up, while I’m in the bathroom, just before I go to bed).

I believe there are more positives than negatives, at least for now, in having these devices around and using them almost constantly. Being able to send somebody an e-mail, Facebook message or text whenever I have a problem, being able to research topics for university without having to go to the library or referring to a textbook and being able to unwind by playing a game or watching a video are all great things that are made readily available by these devices. Although I do wonder exactly what kind of effect it has on relationships with people in different generations from mine (specifically older generations). For all this good it is somewhat sad to think that as someone who lives at home and has a good relationship (unless I don’t do the chores) with both my parents that I only really speak to them for between 1-2 hours each day during dinner, and even then we are usually in front of the TV watching one of our favourite shows.

My Mum: Growing up With the Introduction of Television

The way we watch TV has drastically changed since the introduction of the first black and white TV in 1925 (first public demonstration). Both of my parents are in their 60’s and so I decided to speak with my mum about what the TV ‘culture’ was in her household and how her own viewing habits changed and developed over the years up to her watching habits today.

My mum came from a family of 6 (4 children) and they bought their first black and white television around 1962. Most of my impressions of how families watched TV at the time come from photos that depict households sitting in armchairs around a massive box with a small screen about as far away as we sit today from a laptop screen. But in my mothers household this was not the case, if anything they seemed to rarely use the TV at all. My mum recalls how different family members seemed to use the TV for entirely different purposes, her parents would watch the news, my mum and her younger brother would watch cartoons such as Mighty Mouse, or sci-fi shows such as The Big Pull while her older brother and sister seemed more interested in going out partying then watching TV at all. After a few years the household TV had become a bit more of a centre point where mum recalled watching certain series with her dad such as Wandjina (describes a style of Aboriginal art) or the whole family gathering to watch things like the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. One of the most interesting things I found while talking to my mum (about watching TV when she was younger) was the times when she, or her family would watch TV. In my house at the moment we tend to eat dinner and watch TV at the same time where we watch shows like Have You Been Paying Attention, The Jim Jefferies Show, Elementary or anything else that looks interesting at the time. But back when my mum was still living in her family home she mentioned that they never watched TV during the day or during dinner. It was an activity for after dinner whether they were watching it by themselves or as a family (which kind of confuses me because with 4-6 people all wanting to watch different things how did they ever settle on who got to watch what?).

After my mum moved out of home and started working TV became an activity to unwind with, usually watching sci-fi or crime shows in the evening between dinner and bed for a few hours. When my mum first moved in with my dad she says they didn’t watch much TV other than some weekly fixtures like Doctor Who but said after about 10 years of marriage they began to watch more and more TV. She claims the increase in time spent watching TV was due to the introduction of Foxtel but after a quick google search I confirmed Foxtel wasn’t introduced in Australia until 1995, which would be after 15 years of marriage. So after some interrogation I learned that the main reason they started watching more and more TV was because they stopped having as much sex after being told they would probably never have a child.

Today, as mentioned earlier, we watch TV as a family almost every night for at least an hour where we often talk over the TV to catch up and talk about our day but after that my mum tends to keep watching TV until around midnight going through seemingly endless numbers of trashy reality TV shows, which, when questioned about says she watches them because “they are great because they are so ridiculous”… I just think she is a drama queen at heart.