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$creen$aver$: How my hatred of pointless dollar $ign$ can save you money

November 23, 2010

by Ashley Akin

I realized today that I am officially old, and I’m OK with that. I know this to be true for two reasons. #1: I started the day by telling my dog “Dadgummit, I hate it when it rains. Makes m’bones ache.” (I realize this is due in no small part to the ridiculous amounts of foot-breakage I’ve had in the past year, but I point you to the fact that I actually used the word “dadgummit.” I’m pretty sure that’s reserved for the over-80 set, so I’m clearly on my way to The Home.)

#2: I passed an (I’m assuming) freshman this morning whose computer had a Ke$ha screensaver on it, and I muttered “Ugh, kids these days don’t know jack about music.” OK, I may have said something stronger than “jack,” but only real old people can cuss and shout about their opinions in public and still be adorable rather than offensive, so I’m gonna hold off on that one for a few years.

Anyway, my reaction was hilarious to me because I am the person who once saw Britney Spears twice in one year and wore a homemade shirt to a Backstreet Boys concert. My friends and I, no lie, wore shirts that spelled out W-E-L-O-V-E-B-S-B. Yep. So that happened.

To be honest, that no longer embarrasses me after having watched the BSB/NKOTB performance on the AMAs. I don’t care if they are 40-year-old men bopping around in a synchronized dance, desperately trying to channel Justin Bieber. If I still (or ever) looked good in just a sports bra and a pleated skirt, you better believe we’d be staging “Baby, One More Time” in a high school gym while the kids were on Thanksgiving break. So have at it, boys.

All of this is to say that this screensaver helped me realize I am no longer the pop music industry’s target demographic. I know this because Ke$ha, dear, you kinda make me want to poke my (one good) eye out. First of all, the dollar sign is nonsense. If Prince wants us to write his name as some whacked-out symbol, we will. He’s Diamonds-and-Pearls, for the 90’s sake. You are not.

Secondly, why so angry, Keh-dollarsign-ha? You are a (theoretically) hot young blonde who is making millions for stomping around and yelling. You should have a beauty-pageant permasmile. Third, if you took all that goth warpaint off, I’m pretty sure we’d find you are Mayim Bialik underneath. Seriously, you two could be twins. And Blossom was so happy all the time. It was probably because she wore that flower on her head. Perhaps you should consider that.

As Joey Lawrence would say, “WOAH!” – I have, as usual, gotten way off topic here. There is a point, Smallest Users, no matter how thinly-connected it may be. And it is this: screensavers are eeee-ville. And not just the ones with soon-to-be-washed-up pop stars who fake-smash guitars. The whole lot of them.

In terms of energy-saving, screensavers are a giant waste of power. Not only do they not save you energy, they actually require your computer to run using the same amount of energy it does when you’re using it. Most laptops, for example, use between 15-45 watts of electricity when active, but they only use 6 watts when you put them in standby mode.

Now I know what some of you are thinking: I like my family-picture-slideshow/snow-falling/holiday-themed/scrolling-marquee screensaver, dern it, and you can’t take it away from me. Look – as the kids say – I feel you. I’d like nothing more than to have a fuzzy Coke-drinking polar bear or scantily-clad pop star running to and fro across my computer screen at all times.

But there is another way – if you switch from screensavers to standby, you’ll not only save energy but also money. Enough money to, say, paper your bedroom in posters of frolicking animals, pop singers or whatever weirdness your heart desires. After all, nothing says “‘Tis the season” like a room covered in penguins or Katy Perry posters. Whatever floats your boat, dude. As long as I don’t have to be in it.

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