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Norm Blackburn the_spectator066003.gif

First a disclaimer. I have passed my three quarter century  mark so I have seen lots of movies and can remember when phone numbers had word prefixes. My prefix was “Sunset”.

          The last few days have been a seminal passage for me. I bought an iPhone and went to see Avatar 3D. This was almost techno overload for my old brain. Imagine getting so into a movie that you actually believe you are traveling through a jungle on a foreign planet. Imagine holding a device in your hand that can tell where you are and you can tell it to call a friend. Both are amazing, no, they are in the current vernacular, “awesome”.

          I really wasn’t planning on buying an iPhone quite yet. A friend visited our house and he showed me his. Gee, what a whiz-bang! A computer and phone and music player you can put in your pocket. He showed me most of the features and I was, as they say, “blown away”. But when my wife asked why I needed one, I didn’t have a very good answer. I have a cell phone and so does she. We got them in case of emergencies. We spend a lot of time together but once in awhile we drive separate cars. I also have a Mac desktop computer that I take on trips and can surf the Internet and send e-mails. So why do I need an iPhone?

          On Saturday we went to the mall and while my wife shopped at Macy’s I just thought I’d swing by the AT&T store and ask them some questions. The salesman who helped me had three small silver loops in his ear so I knew right away he was hip. He was. He told me that the new technology would make my life easier and besides it was fun. This last claim got me. Why not get something fun? After all I deserve something fun. I was hooked when three teenage girls came in the store said, “Awesome!” and bought an iPhone. I am a college graduate, so if a high school girl can master this life-changing device, so could I.

          The three-earring guy moved my cell phone number to the iPhone, moved my wife’s number to my old cell so she could get rid of her obsolete three-year-old phone and transferred my e-mail address book and net bookmarks to my new phone. It helped that I use a Mac so the transfer was seamless and over the air. How 2010!

          Before I knew it I was out the door with a small hole in my checking account but with a state-of-the-art machine. My wife rolled her eyes and didn’t ask why I really needed one.

          On Sunday we went to see Avatar in 3D. It was just after noon and the theater was almost full. Most of the people were adults, which surprised me. I guess the younger set was seeing the Princess And The Frog in the next theater. I had problems with my 3D glasses. I put them on over my regular glasses and they kept slipping down my nose. A major distraction!

          The movie started. Nothing flew by my head. No spear was thrown past me. I didn’t have to duck a thrown baseball. This was no “Creature From The Black Lagoon” or “Bwana Devil”, early 3D flicks. The Avatar producers used restraint. Oh, there were a few flybys that reminded you that 3D can make you duck but the real experience was the feeling that you were “inside” the action. As the movie went on, I was amazed at the technology that allowed me to experience the movement and the depth of the screen.   How did they do that? I mean I jumped from branch to branch of the big tree. I fell hundreds of feet off a cliff and I zoomed into a hole in the ground of this far away planet. It wasn’t a Disneyland ride that shook the change out of your pocket, but it was amazing, err, I mean awesome.

          OK, the plot was rather thin and the good guys won and it was half an hour too long but life of an avatar on planet Pandora isn’t easy. You would think that someone in this futuristic movie would have an iPhone.

          So my high tech weekend was wonderful. I feel younger and more “hip”. I am learning more and more things that are packaged in my new phone and I am still replaying that groundbreaking movie in my head.

          My advice; see the movie and get a smart phone right away, before the blue-skinned Na’vi people get one and call you.

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