Auld Lang Syne

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What would New Year’s Eve be without the annual tradition of a well imbibed crowd slurring their way through a rendition of Auld Lang Syne? But why this song and what does it mean?

In the 1700s, the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote the words (borrowed from an old song which had been passed down through the ages orally but had never before been written down). It was eventually set to the tune of a traditional folk song and has since become a staple at New Year’s celebrations around the globe. Bandleader Guy Lombardo has been largely credited for its popularity in American culture.

It is a song that wistfully asks us, in the midst of our revelry, to pause for a bit to remember the past. As we stand on the brink of yet another new year, it is fitting to cast a look back at all our days gone by. After all, it is our past that has brought us to where we are today.  

Here are the full lyrics to the old song – modernized to help us understand the meaning of what it is asking us to consider.

AULD LANG SYNE (Times Gone By)

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne (times gone by)?

CHORUS:
For times gone by, my dear,
for times gone by,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for times gone by.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for times gone by.

CHORUS
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since times gone by.

CHORUS
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine†;
But seas between us broad have roared
since times gone by.

CHORUS
And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will ale,
for times gone by.

CHORUS

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories and would like to wish you and yours a very Happy New Year. And cheers to Auld Lang Syne. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

How to Remember the Past

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How can you better remember that perfect day with your family or a special moment? The following are some insights from psychologist Charles Fernyhough, author of the book Pieces of Light, on the tricks and limitations of making good memories:

I’m picky about memory. I don’t want to remember more “stuff,” like the elements of the periodic table or the names of all the presidents (I’ve got Wikipedia for that). Instead, I want to stay in touch with the events of my own life: that great midnight conversation I had with a friend, or that visit with the kids to the Tower of London on a cold spring Sunday. I want to be like my grandmother, who, when I interviewed her at age 93, could recall how she felt as she saw the bombs dropping on London during the Blitz. Oscar Wilde referred to memory as “the diary that we all carry about with us.” I want mine to be filled to overflowing: not with mere information, but with the stories that make me who I am.

In order to remember an event, we first need to encode it, which means taking in information through our perceptual systems and converting it into a form that can be laid down. At the very least, that means we need to be there in the moment when things are happening. Plenty of studies have shown that, when our attention is divided, we do a worse job of encoding, probably because we don’t process the information so deeply. Our memory suffers, not just for the things we are supposed to be remembering, but also for the contextual details that might later act as cues to recall.

Shun distractions, in other words, and you should encode events more effectively. Simply telling yourself to remember might work too. In one vivid memory of early childhood, the novelist A. S. Byatt recalls telling her young self, “I am always going to remember this.” She did. Studies show that if we are motivated to remember something, we will often do it better—as long as we are motivated at encoding rather than at retrieval, when strenuous efforts to recall are less effective.

Sometimes the biggest distraction is that very determination to remember. I heard the story recently of a teenage girl who, at the end of a family trip, was busy taking pictures on her smartphone while her parents were calling her away. “I’ll be there in a minute,” the girl was heard to say, “I’m just doing my memories.” How many times have you watched footage of an event on the TV and seen people in the audience filming it for themselves? With high-quality cameras in our pockets, there’s a strong temptation to live our lives through a viewfinder.

This cuts two ways in terms of its effects on memory. True, you end up with a representation of the event that can later be a useful cue to memory (photograph albums really do take you back in time). On the other hand, you are also attending to the act of recording—which, if you’re as hopeless at using a phone as I am, takes a lot of attention. And a picture is always partial: it can’t capture anything of the other sensory details that can be such powerful cues to memory, such as sounds and smells.

We shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that our online, multitasking lifestyles are necessarily a bad thing for memory. My Twitter timeline is a pretty good guide to what I have thought, felt, and laughed about in the last couple of years. We can also use digital technologies to store information that we might not attend to very much at the time, and which can subsequently be a potent cue to retrieval. This is the rationale behind some people’s use of the SenseCam, a small digital camera, worn around the neck, which is triggered to take pictures by movement and changes in the light. SenseCam has been used by amnesiacs to provide cues to memories that would otherwise be inaccessible. Tiny details from an image, features that would hardly have been noticed at the time, can spark memories in a Proustian rush.

We can do plenty of other things to boost our chances of having rich autobiographical memories. A key principle of memory is elaboration, the process of generating new connections among bits of information so that they form a more organized and persistent memory trace. Talking about the past (both to yourself and to others) serves to elaborate the memory. Children whose parents elaborate on past events go on to produce richer autobiographical narratives. Writing about the past, in the form of a diary that can be revisited in later years or decades, might be even more effective. And bear in mind that, when we encode information about an event, we also encode some of the contextual details (like sounds and smells) that accompany it. Those background details, when we re-experience them, can be effective cues to retrieval, which is why going back to a place is one of the best ways of reactivating memories of it. Some people (like pop artist Andy Warhol or many chefs) even use smells deliberately to reawaken memories of particular events; many of us use music in the same way.

While we’re putting all this into practice, we also need to be aware of the deceptions and distortions of memory. Memory does not record the past; it reconstructs it according to the needs of the present. Remembering better is not about pointing the camera and switching to HD mode. We should think about remembering as we would think about other creative things we do, like playing the sax or shooting hoops at basketball. Doing it well does not mean crunching more data; it means being aware of the mechanisms it works by and the tricks it can play, so that we can forge new relationships with these precious stories of the self.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, contact 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

First Record

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Kids today have so much to be thankful for… but at the same time, I can’t help but think that they may be missing out on some of the more iconic moments we remember of growing up. I vividly recall the first music that I purchased with my own money. A 45 rpm single of The Beach Boys hit “Barbara Ann.”

For any kids that may be reading, let me explain. Before there was iTunes or Pandora or Spotify, there were record stores. That’s where we would have to go to buy a song we wanted to hear. They were sold as single recordings on vinyl discs that could be played by dragging a needle across the face of them. On the flip side was usually a lesser known song by the same artist or group. In my case, it was “Girl, Don’t Tell Me.”

Buying a record was a monumental decision for a child. The first time you put your allowance money down to buy a piece of music that wasn’t chosen for you by your parents was like taking a first step towards your independence.

I may be wrong but I doubt today’s kids can remember the first song they downloaded. It is just too easy a process to be memorable. Back in the day, great thought and planning had to be made to bring about the physical transaction that resulted in a sale of the one piece of music you decided you wanted to own. There would be other purchases to be sure, but the first record held a special meaning all its own.

“Baa Baa Baa, Baa Barbara Ann…”

Or maybe not.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. One of the many services they offer is digitalization of audio recordings from reel to reel tape, cassette tapes, or vinyl records. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd

How Did Christmas Look on the Year You Were Born?

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Things do change… Christmas is no exception. Have fun scrolling through these pictures that highlight what was popular at Christmastime through the years.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/smart-living/this-is-what-christmas-looked-like-the-year-you-were-born/ss-BBnMNGt?ocid=NL_ENUS_A2_20171222_2

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd

What’s Your Resolution?

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What’s your New Years’ resolution?

The old year is quickly departing. Here comes 2018!

For whatever reason, people seem driven to resolve to make a change in their lives at the break of a new year.  Most of the time, our New Years’ resolutions are destined to fail within the first week or two. 

If you really want to make a change in your life, the folks over at TED Talks have some pretty unique ideas that may have more of an impact on your life than the usual “lose weight, exercise more” resolutions we’ve all tried and failed at. Take a look:

https://ideas.ted.com/9-creative-new-years-resolutions/

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd

BBB

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Long before Bed Bath & Beyond arrived on the scene, BBB was recognized and trusted by shoppers or consumers as the acronym for The Better Business Bureau.

The BBB was founded in 1912 as a non-profit organization formed to help promote and drive forward the concept of “truth in advertising.” While it has no governmental affiliations and thus no ability to enforce laws or impose penalties, it wields considerable influence in the marketplace as consumers have learned to trust its accreditation services.

A business is eligible for BBB Accreditation if it meets, in the opinion of the BBB, the “BBB Standards for Trust”. There are eight BBB Standards for Trust that the BBB expects its Accredited Businesses to adhere to: Build Trust (“maintain a positive track record in the marketplace”), Advertise Honestly, Tell the Truth, Be Transparent, Honor Promises, Be Responsive (address marketplace disputes), Safeguard Privacy (protect consumer data) and Embody Integrity.

Consumers know that a business with a high BBB accreditation score must be a well-established business that works hard to keep its complaints to a minimum and responds well enough to complaints to convince the BBB it makes good-faith efforts to resolve them.

Between the BBB, and websites like Yelp, Angie’s List,  and other social media sites that will post users’ vendor recommendations and testimonials, consumers have more opportunities than ever to educate themselves before making a purchasing decision.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories and is happy to announce that they’ve received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd. And don’t forget about our end of year sale. Running now through Dec 30! Save up to 40% on transfer services.

Countdown to Christmas XII

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Twas the day before Christmas, and at HVS
Our machines have stopped whirring and we are at rest
The disks we created were received with great joy.
Our clients are happy – each girl and each boy.
For their tapes, films and slides from times long since past;
We transferred them all so that now they will last.
And as families all gather around their TVs
We smile knowing they’re watching our DVDs.
To our clients we say with our hearts filled with cheer,
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!
Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. And don’t forget about our end of year sale! It kicks off Tuesday Dec 26 and runs through Saturday Dec 30. Biggest discounts of the year! For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd