Friday, July 21, 2006


John Cleese doesn't like being funny any more. (Yes, please do note that 'any more' is two words.) This makes me somewhat sad. Then again:
...Cleese did say he enjoyed some contemporary comedians and shows, citing Ricky Gervais’s The Office, Chris Langham and Paul Whitehouse in Help, Eddie Izzard and Bill Hicks, who he described as ‘what Lenny Bruce was supposed to be, but never was’.
So at least he's not completely off his rocker yet.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Being Connected

The camel's back broke shortly before my Ohio trip. DeeDee needed the cell phone her own self, so I would be 'unconnected.' (Not that I was unreachable, mind you -- I was on a high-speed connection all day and even used the chat function of Google Talk to check in several times while on-site.) So I was forced to give in. We visited the Cingular Wireless store to look at phones and discuss plans.
TIP: Just about everything is cheaper online than at the Cingular Wireless store. The stores have to pay their employees, you see, so they can't possibly afford to wheel and deal with the likes of you in person. If you want something right away, mind you, you have the option of taking care of business then and there, but know that you'll be paying for that convenience.
We went home and I ordered what we needed online. Upgraded DeeDee's phone and got me the same one, all for free after rebate, saving $120 from the in-store price. I am now officially one of the masses. I have my own fucking cell phone.

I decided years ago that I didn't like cell phones. Not because they were a status symbol or because their annoying rings interrupted my classes. I couldn't give two shits about other people's phones. I just hate the idea that somehow we have been duped into believing that we must always be reachable at any point in time; that we get pissed when we're in a location in the world from which we cannot receive nor make a phone call right NOW. We made it almost all of the way through the 1980s with pay phones serving that purpose. Now I work with people whose mobile phone is their only phone.

People who know how much of a computer geek I am are surprised to learn of my stance on this. To clarify, computer geekiness does not symbiotically equate to a pro-technology attitude across the board. There are things that computers and software have made much easier and more efficient (healthcare springs to mind -- that one in particular keeps me employed, though, so there's a bias at play). There are also things that are now computerized that were never all that difficult or inefficient in the first place. Phones are a perfect example of this latter category. 2% of the population needed cell phones. Now 12-year-olds are spending $1 to 'text their votes' and thusly changing what's on my radio and my television. (Their parents suck, BTW.)

So I hate them, but I have one now. I'm trying not to anger myself or others with it (which is more than I can say about almost every other person I've met who's had one), but I must admit that I have spent quite a lot of time tweaking and personalizing it (remember: Computer geek). The article linked above discusses annoying ringtones. Sure, there are plenty of those. And anyone who pays to download one is an idiot, since you can easily connect any phone made in the last few years to your computer and directly upload whatever sound file tickles your fancy. My 'tones' are personalized per caller and are mostly quotes from movies, television shows, and comedians. The only 'ring' I have programmed makes my cell sound like an old rotary-dial phone telephone bell when someone I don't know calls.

But I am and will continue to be a stringent follower of the rest of the rules of cell phone etiquette. In particular, let me encourage the rest of the world out there to pay attention to #7 on that list. Quiet the fuck down, people. You're not in a phone booth. We can hear you. If you somehow get hold of my cell number and we talk while I'm in a public place, be prepared for me to be speaking with you at a decibel level just above that of a whisper. The phone's brand new. I think it's safe to assume the mic works very well. Most headsets I've seen have the mic way up just beyond people's earlobes, and those can pick up a normal/quiet voice just fine. Head mics are that way on stage, too. If you're going to put so much trust in technology that you're willing to believe you need to be connected 24/7, is it so much of a leap for you to trust that the fucking mic can pick up your stupid, annoying voice coming out of your stupid, annoying mouth less than two inches away?