Computer Mobility

You might be wondering why this blog would ever talk about technology, but in this case it relates to my great roommate. Living with him for the past 7 months, I’ve realized a number of things about what computers say about the people who own them.

Early on in our time here, my roommate would regularly go visit his parents and stay home during the weekends. His parents live less than an hour away and it was a short trip to enjoy his mom’s home cooking (understandably), and he liked that they filled his gas tank for him as a bonus.

Then something changed. He stopped going home at all, or he’d tell me he would be away, but then change his mind and stay. Or just never wake up to leave. While I didn’t mind, it struck me as strange… but perhaps he just wanted more independence and may not enjoy his parents’ company as much now.

Only when I spoke to him a few days ago, did I realize the reason was much simpler.

After fighting Comcast to get a decent internet connection at our apartment, there is no reason for him to go enjoy the steady network he has at his home. And after purchasing a desktop computer and relegating his laptop to the ranks of the unused, he can’t move much from his bedroom here.

This made me wonder if it was possible to tell how outgoing people are based on what device they used. Maybe those that used iPads and Tablets for their primary screen are the most outgoing, able to move their lives on the go without much hassle. Contrasting my roommate who is tethered to the many cords and cables in his bedroom.

My trusty laptop and I have moved around a lot during the past few years. I enjoy taking my computer out to a park, a coffeeshop or on trips while remaining with all my files at my fingertips. I can determine where I want to be when I access this virtual world and screen that is the computer and the internet… not the other way around.

Same Place, Different Worlds

Despite us both living in the same apartment, I feel like my roommate and I live in different worlds. I live in Baltimore… he lives in this apartment and online.

It’s amazing how differing lifestyles affect how you see and learn about a city. My lack of a vehicle has meant I’ve explored various parts of the city on foot, learning street names, bus routes, and what the city has to offer. I’ve been to Federal Hill, to the Harbor, to Harbor East, Fells Point and really come to appreciate this city.

My roommate… hasn’t been to the Harbor. He would be having the exact same lifestyle if he lived somewhere else.

With the snow that we’ve gotten these differences have been very pronounced. I just strap on my boots and go for a walk to go about my day. My roommate wouldn’t even know it were snowing unless the weather site on his computer told him so!

Now I understand that everyone is different, and I shouldn’t judge someone on their lifestyle. You can do whatever you choose.

It’s just amazing to me, that if you ask us about living here you’ll get amazingly different answers about our experiences these past few months.

Who are you more like?

Trends of Food

My roommate is very trendy. He makes his own trends, which soon become fads and even sooner becomes left behind.

These trends are with food. Last semester it was with sandwiches. Two loaves of bread disappear within a few days if he eats 4, or 8, sandwiches a day. Bacon, too, as the sandwiches aren’t complete without bacon to make it even more unhealthy. Now the bacon is untouched… so more for me!

This spring (or winter) the new trend is hotdogs. Cheap 24-pack hotdogs made from 60% pork and 40% chicken meat, all for under $4! It started off in early February, he came back with a pack of these and 16 buns. I ate a couple thinking there’s no way he can eat all 24 within the recommended time, stated on the package, of a week. It became his lunch, his dinner, his late night snack… and a few days later he was out of buns, and I had to suggest to him to try it with just bread. Sure enough, soon he went back to buy more.

But his time, like the healthy vegetables and fruit in our fridge, it sat untouched by my roommate.

The buns reached its best before date and only I had opened the pack to have a two for my own lunch. Today, over 10 days later, they are still sitting there on the counter. Like fashion trends… left behind, seldom used.

My roommate has proven to me that even the things we find so great can be driven to its death by overuse…

I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

Family Meals

My roommate and I like to joke that we’re a small family, in the sense that between the two of us we just eat that much. A frozen pizza which is supposed to serve 4, we finish. An 8-piece fried chicken bucket with 2-sides from the grocery store, is for the two of us. You get the idea.

But recently, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, my roommate has evolved, and he alone now can consume what is meant for a whole family.

Impressively, he was able to finish a WHOLE frozen pizza all by himself!

Separate Food Groups

My roommate and I, despite our shared love for  junk food and frozen, have what seems like very different dietary habits.

As with many roommate pairs, we initially bought groceries to share. We thought, hey, this way if he wanted to cook some of the chicken he can without worrying. If I wanted to drink some of the milk that will be no problems. Turns out, this was quite inefficient as these things just don’t happen.

My roommate does not cook anything except fry bacon to make his sandwiches, though he has now taken some of my frozen waffles and had that as breakfast. My roommate only drink diet soda and drinks, but I really can’t do drinks with fake sugar. It just does not taste at all real. I can do skim milk (sorry, Ron Swanson) but I can’t do Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Pepsi Max, you name it.

I, on the other hand, insist on varying my diet. I will try to buy different meats, different vegetables to cook, perhaps pairing it with rice, noodles or salad. My roommate will say that this was not worth the “effort to calories ratio” as compared to the sandwiches, even though I guarantee you I don’t make fancy gourmet dishes. I’m just trying to improve my basic culinary repertoire.

So as of now we’ve agreed to buy food separately – as in the words of my roommate “the union of what we eat is very small.” If anyone understands set theory, imagine that Venn diagram. Only Bacon, Milk, Ham, Cereal and Bread are in the Union of the groups of what we eat.

I’d put ice cream in that group too – only if I get to it before he does!

Addicted

My roommate is a gamer. He plays League of Legends, amongst many other games. I generally hear him from my side of the apartment, which isn’t that small, with all the doors closed. I guess good headphones and your own virtual world makes you forget about how loud you can be at times.

So knowing this, a story was shared to me by a college friend, jokingly, that he should enroll in the video game addiction program featured in this article by NPR.

The article is definitely worth a read, if you have a friend, sibling, or child who plays a lot of video games, though I’m not sure if there really is need for a complete rehabilitation program. Though there are some signs I have seen… many from my roommate.

Instead of keeping it from my roommate, I share it with him, knowing that he’d be humored by the premise of the article. He, however, says he doesn’t think the program is worth it.

Why, I ask. Do you not see yourself an addict? Do you not agree with the signs?

“Nah, not that,” he says. “I’ll just relapse.”

Unscientific Experiment

I may have mentioned the my roommate and I love our frozen pizza. It’s one of those things we do together once every few weeks, the few times I get himself out of his room to eat at the dining table with me.

Well, we did that last Sunday, and I noticed that he doesn’t throw out his empty Sprite Zero can, nor the dirty paper towels he used. Now, I could easily have picked up after him, but that wouldn’t be helping him learn would it, so I decided I’d leave it be.

The next few days I see the same pile at the edge of the dining table, untouched. I often would be eating my meals next to it, and I wonder, how long it would be till he would realize that this mess was his. I decided I would make this an experiment, to see how long it would be till he figures it out and cleans it, or till I crack.

It sits for over 120 hours… before I return with a few drinks in me and call him out on it.

“Dude… you realize your trash is still on the table since Sunday night?!? It’s almost Friday!”

“Well, at least it’s not months yet…” was the reply. Don’t get me started on his room.

So I guess the experiment shows this – my tolerance for a mess is much lower than his.