Gary Brown: Old technology still rules around my house

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
Gary Brown, The Repository

The reason no one ever asks me questions about problems they’re having with their modern technology might be that I’m still a few decades behind.

I still own an eight-track cassette player. Worse yet, it’s still set up and plugged in. Some kind of support group for people like me probably exists -- called the Musically Outdated -- but I must confess that I still use the thing.

I never bothered to convert my Creedence Clearwater Revival collection. I play it loud, so “Proud Mary” can be heard over the vacuum cleaner. Since I’ve already got the volume, I didn’t see the need to go for any particular quality. I’m singing the songs at the same time they’re playing on the stereo, for heaven’s sake. Do you really think my voice is going to match anything that has been digitally remastered?

Old Terminology

Stereo system. Now that’s a term you don’t hear much today from iPod people. You hardly ever even hear anybody refer to speakers anymore. Ask somebody who is walking around with a wire leading to a pocket about woofers and tweeters and see what they say about it.

“Sorry, I didn’t hear you. I had my earbuds in.”

Sitting on a shelf next to my eight-track is my turntable. I didn’t need the money so I never sold my old records. And I didn’t really want new music so I never stopped listening to them. I have rows of albums and stacks of singles, and I own one of those little discs you had to put on the turntable record holder so you could go from 33 1/3 to 45 rpm.

Who am I kidding? I still own a 78-rpm record. I don’t even remember what kind of music it is. But, I know I can play it on the old portable record player I have stored in my basement if there ever is some sort of musical emergency.

The most modern pieces of technology I have down in my recreation room is the capability of actually letting the turntable change records -- on its own -- without me having to get up. The needle bar moves out of the way and the next record falls down. You can pile three or four albums up there, and they drop right into place. It’s really something astonishing to see.

Moving Forward

Upstairs, my technology is a little less obsolete. I keep my cassette tapes in my living room entertainment center.

Are we still allowed to refer to it as an entertainment center, if the television shoved into the big opening is an old analog set? Or is it supposed to be called a home music and theater center now? I believe I still have an entertainment center, since my DVD player has a videocassette slot.

My still-working transistor radio is in my home office so I can listen to ball games on AM stations, the way I did when I was a kid -- with static. My portable audiocassette player does tune in FM though, so I’m not as far behind the times as it might seem.

I am, however, surrounded by old technology. I’m comfortable with it all. I’m probably not going to ever sell the stuff.

Eventually I’m just going to get some art grant so I can open up a museum.