Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Saving Lives With Google Maps

On Saturday morning, the phone rang. My older daughter, Thing 1, immediately grabbed the phone, having seen that it was her favorite uncle (my younger brother) on the caller ID. My brother asked for me, but Thing 1 thought I was still in the shower so she told him I was not available.

Apparently my brother, E, felt that T1 could help him because I heard her say, “Hang on, let me turn on my iPod.” She then started fiddling around with her browser (it’s an iPod touch) and pulling up a website.

(I should point out, she was at the family computer at the time, accessing iTunes)

I heard her ask E for the name of the street he was on, and she then said she would find it on a map. She then asked him what street he was trying to find. At this point I realized my brother’s potentially tragic mistake: He was lost, and was relying on his 11 year old niece to help him find his way. Seeing as how my brother lives in Manhattan, unless he was a hundred miles from home, it’s not likely she would be able to locate any streets where he was, so I insisted she hand me the phone. I then sat down at the computer and pulled up Google Maps.

Me: So where are you?

E: 39th and Northern Blvd, Queens. I need to find the Queensboro Bridge to get back to Manhattan.

I found his intersection online, and told him to take a right on Northern, and it would take him right to the bridge.

E: OK, I’m heading that way now.

Me: OK, in a few seconds you should be passing Honeywell Street. Do you see it yet?

E: No, I just got out on the road, I only went half a block.

Me: You should be halfway there, bad traffic?

E: No, I’m riding a bike.

Me: A bicycle?

E: Yeah.

Me: You rode a bike across the Queensboro Bridge? To Queens?

E: Yeah. There’s a footpath across the bridge.

Me: *stunned silence*

E: I only live 3 blocks from the bridge, it’s not far.

E often does things that boggle my mind. He once bought a sofa that was too big to get into his apartment. He did the logical thing….rather than returning it, he and his friend cut it in half, moved it in two pieces, and then reassembled it using plates to join it back together. He once decided to go jogging with a friend. However, his friend was running in the NY Marathon at the time, so he waited for his friend to run by his intersection, and he ran out into the pack and ran with his friend. For 10 miles. When he got to where he needed to be, he stepped out of the pack and then called me to say “hi.”

And now he rode his bike from Manhattan to Queens. Which really isn’t far, but the idea of taking a bicycle into that kind of traffic, crossing a bridge, and then getting lost and having to call his brother 800 miles away, is just kind of odd.

But not as odd as thinking his 11 year old niece could help him out by pulling up a map of Queens on her iPod.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I Saw The Sign

A sign of a bad economy....every intersection around town has a sign advertising some opportunity to make money (which rarely work), usually as a telemarketer. "Earn $3K a month FROM YOUR OWN HOME! Call 401-555-1212!"

To differentiate between them, sometimes the guys with these offers / pyramid schemes have to be creative in order to get the jobless calling them instead of the other guys offering ways to help you earn money from your own home.

Thus we have signs like this:

I am assuming the hidden message is, "You will make so much folding money working from me that you'll be able to go into your regular job and slap your boss (and then spend the weekend in the county lockup). I have not called the number. Mostly because I'd be worried that my number would thus be on his caller ID, and I would get endless phonecalls wanting to know if I needed a job.

Further up the road, I saw one with similar handwriting that said, "Too much month at the end of the money, call 678-278-8274."

In college, I would have absolutely called this number.

At 3AM.

Hammered. Off. My. Ass.


Monday, April 5, 2010

When in doubt, mumble.

The above piece of advice is how my 11 year old, Thing 1, gets through the day. When asking my wife or I for permission to do something she knows we will reject, she tends to mumble her way through the request, hoping that by hearing only every other word, we will get only a scrubbed-version of what she wants to do and thus rubber-stamp it.

Example: "I want to *something something* with my friends, can I?

"What? Speak up, please."

"I want to show my friends this really cool website on our computer, can all 5 of them come in?


Saturday was one such day where she made a valiant attempt to get something past us. I was on the phone with my sister-in-law (my younger, hipper SIL, the wife of my brother). She has a fairly strong finger on the pulse of pop culture, so when Thing 1 iinterrupted our conversation and asked for permission to buy a song called "How Low" from iTunes, I asked her if she was familiar with the song. Needing more info, I asked T1 for the name of the artist. "Curtis, or LaCurtis, or something like that.

I relayed this info to the SIL, and she advised that she was not familiar with any artist named Curtis/LaCurtis, nor a song called "How low." Thus, I told T1 that it would have to wait until I could check out the lyrics. Upon telling this, she protested by saying, "But mom told me I could download the song once she checked out the lyrics!"

"The fact that you are asking me suggests she has either not done so, correct?" I asked.

"No, she hasn't," she replied.

"Then I will check them out later and let you know." T1 told me she had the song (music/lyrics only, not the video) up on Youtube and I was welcome to check them out when I was done talking.

Once I finished talking to the SIL, I went into the office and looked at the screen. The title of the song was "How Low," by the singer we all know better as LUDACRIS. At that point, I already made my decision, but so that I wouldn't be accused of passing judgment too quickly, I checked out the lyrics. Here's an excerpt:

She could go lower than I ever really thought she could,
Face down, ass up!
The top of your booty jiggling out your jeans,
Baby pull your pants up,
I like it when I see you do it,
Better then I ever seen it done before,
A lot of women drop it to the ground,
But how low can you go?

(Lyrics by Ludacris)

Would you like to guess how far I read before I made my final decision?

I wouldn't suggest that this song is *as* bad as "Low" by Flo Rida, but I think I have a strong statistical case that any hip hop song with "Low" in the title is not appropriate for an 11 year old girl. (Says the man who loaded a Who greatest hits compilation onto Thing 1's iPod, which included the song "Squeeze Box," a song that is one giant sexual innuendo...but one that Thing 1 will not realize until she's in her 20's).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

An Actual Wrong Number

Tonight, the family and I took in a high school soccer game (they were having a special night for our youth club where all players in their jerseys got in free, and the kids from our club got to be ball runners on the touchlines.

During the game, my cell phone rang. It is a work-issued phone, and it was a local area code, so thinking it was a customer of mine I answered it.

Me: "Hello, this is Steve."
Woman: Whose phone is this?
Me: This is Steve.
Woman: Is this a business?
Me: Uhhh....yes (I the said my business name).
Woman: What business are you in?
Me: Widgets.
Woman: Is this a strip club?
Me: Uhh....no! (at that point, I assumed this was an April Fool's joke and I hung up the phone).

A few people around me, including the guy I coach with (who is a church pastor) started laughing, and joking about how I was getting pranked. Figuring they were right, I had a good laugh. And then the phone rang again.

Me: Manuel's Taqueria (in a slightly Spanish accent).
Woman: Who did I reach?
Me: Manuel's Taquerie.
Woman: Is this a restaurant?
Me: Si.
Woman: Where are you located?
Me: Acworth Georgia.
Woman: What is your address?
Me: 5 Main Street.
Woman: OK, thank you.

She hung up, and everyone around me was snickering at the idea that I obviously gave this woman a fake business and address. And then the phone rang again. Same woman. At this point, everyone around me was convinced I was being pranked. I again announced myself.

Woman: Did you call me? I had this phone number in my phone. (she then confirmed my phone#, which was accurate)
Me: No, I haven't. This is a business phone, I've had it on me all day, and I can assure you I did not call you.
Woman: This was a couple of weeks ago that you called. I just found my phone today, and the call was a couple of weeks ago.
Me: No, wasn't me, unless it was a wrong number. What's your name?.
Woman: Christine.
Me: Is this a business phone number?
Woman: I'm a dancer.
Me: Oh. OHHHH. Well....no, maybe I dialed a wrong number. I definitely wasn't trying to reach you.
Woman: Ok then, sorry.

So....apparently, a few weeks ago I accidentally called a stripper, who subsequently lost her phone, found it, and wanted to know why I called her, thinking (hoping?) that I would have a dancing job for her.