Random Access Memory

IMG_7976I have always liked the idea of RAM.  It’s a computer thing, some particular type of storage.  (RAM = Random Access Memory.)  I don’t know what this means, not exactly, but I’m charmed by the idea of randomly accessing my memories.

Like many of us, I’ve abandoned photo albums since the advent of the camera phone.  I don’t even print my photos out.  There’s no writing a madcap note on the back (“Wanda & Me At The Beach with Lobster Boy!”) to remind myself who, what, where or when.  No, when I scroll through my pictures these days, I’m lucky if I can remember what the photo is of, let alone why I took it.

IMG_7982All I have is the photo itself, a random image of a moment in time that leaves me wondering why I recorded it.

I actually enjoy this little game.  I call it, “Now what do you suppose THIS is?”

Sometimes it’s easy.  The first photo, for example, was my favorite meal at the state fair this summer:  Pretzel curds, blarney fries & a good Irish beer.

IMG_7871I picked up photo #2 at the 4H building (also at the fair), proof of a fabulous fact that some kid picked up while doing research on…I don’t even know.  Pole vaulting?  Transportation in the middle ages?  The origin of Olympic sports?  I have no idea.  But I know a bit more about the origins of pole vaulting now, & am kind of sad that we’re moved on to cars & bikes & buses & such.

IMG_8059#3 is obviously a guinea pig’s 2nd birthday party.  There were treats involved made out of sunflower seeds & peanut butter. The party hat was homemade.  Of course.

#4, however, still puzzles me.  This is a sculpture I saw at an outdoor art park that was chock-full of weird stuff.  Seriously weird stuff.  But this…I want to call it a deer mobile?…took the cake.  I can’t imagine what the artist’s intent was.  All I can tell you for sure is that it scared the crap out of my sister’s dog.

IMG_8063#5, though?  #5 I remember.  I don’t recall what it was actually called, but my sister (seen smiling here) & I rechristened it “The A-hole” because it’s obviously a big hole with the capital letter A inside it.  And once you see that, you’ll never un-see it.  It’s the A-hole forever.  Because we’re mature like that.

How about you?  Is your phone your photo album these days?  Or do you still print your pictures & put them in albums?  How do you organize your memories?


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  • Jane says:

    Hello Susan,
    I do seem to be taking a lot of pics with my phone these days, but if it’s a big family occasion I try to remember to bring a camera. I haven’t printed photos in a while and I really should take some time and pick out some nice photos and have them printed out.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Hi, Jane! You’re the lucky lady with the Golden Rooster today, so maybe you can enlist his help with the printing & sorting tasks! He has feathers rather than thumbs so might be more trouble than he’s worth but whatever it takes to get the project started, right?

      I wish I even *had* a camera. Mine broke ages ago & I just use the phone now. But my girls are getting big enough that they have sports & dance stuff I’d like to have pictures of, & my little phone camera just isn’t up to snuff. Would love to get something new one day…

  • Helen says:

    Hi Susan

    I am the same as you I do sometimes print a photo if it is one of the grandkids that I really want but very rarely LOL I have heaps of photos on my phone and my camera I have been meaning to put them all on a CD so as I have them to look back on but again I probably would not remember most of them 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Susan Sey says:

      Helen, maybe you can join me in a rousing round of “Now what is THIS photo of?”

      You know what’s even worse is that my kids take photos on my phone these days. So when sorting through my pics I have to wonder if I was even the one who took this particular picture. If I can’t remember, though, I blame the children. It’s very handy. 🙂

  • Amy Conley says:

    Totally and completly on my phone. I do print out some for different things, but my phone IS my camera.

    • Susan Sey says:

      You & me both, Amy! My camera (such as it was) broke ages ago & I never replaced it. Would love to have something a little nicer now that the kids are involved in sports & dance & things that require a little more oomph camera-wise than my little iPhone allows.

  • flchen1 says:

    LOL! How fun, Susan! Alas, I confess that I am one of those ridiculous holdouts in that I still have a *gasp!* flip phone! I’m fortunate it has a camera at all, but it IS fun to look back at the photos I do have on it–they date back at least six years, so my kids are still little in most of my phone photos… My baby was still very much cuddly and my daughter was still running around sporting face paint and little-girl pigtails (whereas in the photo I took of her just yesterday, she’s sporting a messy bun and a cute outfit she persuaded her grandmother to buy her… and that is of a size that I could probably almost squeeze myself into it…) *sigh*

    We do print out some photos as well, as DH has not only a smart phone but a couple snazzy cameras and enjoys capturing moments in our family life (sometimes to my kids’ dismay 😉 )

    • Susan Sey says:

      I’m so glad to hear your dismay about your kid approaching your clothing size! I’m in the same boat & my horror is almost comical. My only hope is that she blows right past my size on a crazy growth spurt & her days of shopping in my closet are very VERY numbered. 🙂

      As for the flip phone? I long for the days, honestly. I only have an iPhone because my husband keeps getting new ones & giving me his old ones. I have been dragged, kicking & screaming, into the electronic future.

      And will probably be dragged a big farther by tomorrow, as the new iPhone (I was informed with great glee) came out today. Pray for me….

      • flchen1 says:

        LOL! YES, so this. DH has upgraded a couple times, and sadly his old phones are languishing as game devices; I’ve stubbornly refused to upgrade, leaving my kids to roll their eyes endlessly at me and also beg for them to be allowed to inherit working phones of their own… we’re still in negotiations…

    • Fedora, the only reason I don’t still have a flip phone is that the charger died and can’t be replaced. They don’t make it anymore.

      The boy assured me that if I had a smartphone (thus opening the way for him to get one), I could get tweets and phone calls out on the massively crowded Saturday of Dragon Con.

      Yeah. Not so much. Been there, tried that, bombed spectacularly. I think the 4G world swamped all s 3G users.

      • flchen1 says:

        Ah, Nancy… I know so many things would be easier on a smartphone, and yet I’m not sure I can bring myself to take that step quite yet. It seems like such a monumental one for me…

  • Deanna says:

    Oh my phone it totally my photo album these days, although I’m a compulsive Instagram photo poster, so a lot of my photos have captions, and time and date stamps which is most helpful. I abandoned the point and shoot camera a few years ago … perhaps 3 years ago? Now all my photos are taken with my phone. I’m happy with that cos all my photos are in the one place, and the quality of the photos are good enough for me, though it gives my dad fits since he’s big into his photography with his DSLR camera as a hobby. Recently, I’ve discovered an online app called Sticky9 which allows me to print my Instagram photos out as fridge magnets and I’m loving those. I’ve printed out a whole bunch of photos of my husband and I and decorated the fridge with them. It’s great too that phone cameras are getting to be better and better in quality. A friend of mine makes youtube videos and she films all her videos with her phone camera and her videos look great. I think the phone camera is here to stay!

    • Susan Sey says:

      You know, I do like having all my photos in one place. And since I believe you’re right & the camera phone IS here to stay, I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t mind so much. One day, though, I really would like to at least do a photo album for each year, with even just a few photos of each month. When I’m old and forgetful, it would be lovely to have it sorted out…

  • Shannon says:

    I loved working with a DSLR, but somewhere the charger went astray during the move after the divorce. No pictures for years. No I have my phone, and in nine months, I have a photo album.

    My big problem now, I that I’ve downloaded pictures to three computers–the old one, the new one, and the laptop. Someday, I’m going to put it all together. Someday. The thing I like about the downloads is that they’re organized by day. So it’s pretty easy to figure out that in May, I was at the pool goofing around.

    I love the idea of photo magnets. The fridge was always where the photos went after I got too busy to do photo albums.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Ooooh, photo magnets! What a great idea! I’m totally going to look into that for stocking stuffers this year. I’m always wondering what on earth to do about that but photo magnets is wonderful! Thank you!

  • Laney4 says:

    Obviously I am old. I have pictures on my computer and phone waiting to be printed since 2008. I have been converting old magnetic albums (with family photos dating back to the 1800s) for the past 7 years, but I am only up to 1992 so far. It is a good cleansing process, as I throw out thousands of photos. I thought it would be difficult when I got to my kids’ birth pictures, but I was fine with chucking dozens of similar photos and just keeping the best one instead. Back in those days, people snapped the entire roll of film (24 or 36 photos per roll) for an event (or sometimes several rolls, like at a wedding), so I’m trying to only keep a few pictures. The thing I have learned is that I can easily chuck all the beautiful wedding cake photos but I MUST keep outdoor photos where people’s cars are in the background, as the men (family AND friends) in my life ALL want to reminisce about their old cars, many years later.

  • Deb says:

    Seriously, I cannot take a focused photo with a digital camera. My poor daughter really has no photos from age 7 to present, except for some friends who have snapped her at sporting events. I have a few photos on my phone, but not many. It is just, gasp!, a regular old cell phone; calls and texts and takes grainy pictures.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Every time my husband “helps” me out & upgrades my cell phone I spend about a week wishing like heck I had a phone that just made phone calls. It’s wonderful when it works but when it goes haywire? You’re stuck.

      Ah, technology.

      That said, I do like having everything in one place–phone, camera, internet, email. So handy. When it works. 🙂

  • sandyg265 says:

    I still use a digital camera and download them to a computer in files for each event. At least we know where we were.

    • Susan Sey says:

      I know, right? The date stamp at least provides a few clues. Usually I can back track from there but sometimes it’s just a mystery.

      Then again, what is life without mystery?

  • Susan,

    Okay the deer statue had me cracking up! In a sort of SNORT, WTF? kind of way!!!

    I confess that I, too, use my phone and my computer as my scrap book these days. But I do like to actually scrap book when I have the time. In fact, I started making scrapbooks for the grandkids, at least of their first year. I’m sad to say I am now 3 grandkids behind…of course I may make the twins a joint book…who knows?

    • Susan Sey says:

      My mom made each of my girls a full-sized quilt when they were about 4. (I should specify that by “full-sized” I mean twin-bed-sized as opposed to baby-sized.) They were/are pretty amazing, right down to their NAMES across the part that covers the pillow.

      Unfortunately, she then had three more grandbabies (not courtesy of me, thank the good lord in heaven) over the next 15 months. And now is is stuck, as there is precedent. The poor woman will be quilting into her nineties at this rate.

      And I think one of my sisters is thinking babies again. Ha!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Thanks for my first laugh of the day, Susan!

    Interestingly enough, I’m going through my old photos, organizing, labeling, etc. My daughters came to help one day: my intent was the throw away any photos that were duplicates of ones they already had.

    My eldest joked, “Are you giving your things away because you’re dying?”

    LOL, no I’m just organizing. But her comment did tempt me to leave the whole damn mess for them to sort through when I’m gone (mentally or physically).

    I’ve kept every card any of my family’s ever sent me, every photo, every memento, but sadly enough, these items often only have meaning after a person’s gone. So I’m now separating items and putting them in plastic sheet protectors labeled with their names.

    I’ve whittled the photos down to one dresser drawer neatly labeled. I feel proud today :-)).

    • Susan Sey says:

      You should feel proud, Jo! That’s a huge accomplishment! My husband put together one of those slide shows set to music for his parents’ 40th wedding anniversary & he digitized old family photos for about three months leading up to it. It turned out to be everybody’s favorite part of the party but DANG it was a lot of work. Being the family historian is a labor of love.

  • catslady says:

    I can’t even find my camera lol. I use to be the picture taker since forever but after my children grew up and now have the fancy iphones (my phone does take pictures but not great ones) I expect them to take them. I do miss not having any copies of anything but there’s a lot less stress from trying to put all those photos in an album since none of them are dated and I’m overwhelmed now lol.

    • Susan Sey says:

      I hear you on losing control of the photo, catslady! Ever since phones starting taking pictures, my husband has been our family’s primary photographer. Unfortunately for our family, I am still our family’s primary story teller, so there’s now a big ol’ disconnect between He Who Takes The Pictures and She Who Tells The Story With Them. We should really get our act together on that…

  • Becke says:

    Great entertainment, Suzan,

    The deer thing was just scary. Remember that scene in Planet of the Apes to scare off the people? I rest my case.

    I’m in the process of scanning all album photos into the computer. This way we’ll go from rarely looking at them to never. I was just tired of storing all of the photo albums. At least they are now categorized in RAM order. If I don’t recognize it, I trash it.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Yeah, that deer thing was just…I mean, sort of…well, words fail me. I guess that’s the whole point of art, but man.

      Did I mention how badly it scared my sister’s dog? I don’t know that the poor thing has recovered. Probably has a deer phobia now. Thanks, Art!

  • Susan I love your pictures! We don’t print them out, but it’s in the back of my head that I should. Hard copy can’t be wiped in a computer malfunction. So I need to pick the best, print them, and put them in albums. Right after I organize the ones from when the boy, now in college, entered middle school.

    I also still use a camera. It zooms more easily tan my phone.

  • Hi Susan-

    LOL on the deer thing – do you think it’s like a wind direction thingie…and the deer actually move in a stiff wind – WHOA! Definitely weird.

    I used to use a digital camera, but remembering to take the darn thing and then uploading to the computer was a pain. My iphone does it all so seamlessly, plus I always have my phone so it’s a win-win. However, the photos never come off the phone – never.

    I’m fortunate that my kids were little and grew up in the time of cameras and film. I have their childhood in my photo archives. I used to paint from photographs and I still have a ton of photographs of elements in composition for a future painting. These days I don’t take those kind of photos and the ones I take tend to be slightly out of focus. Some day I’ll paint those ald pics (LOL – I’ll probably paint them out of focus).