They’re Fucking You With the Cell Phone

“They fuck you with cell phones. That’s what it is. They’re fuckin’ you with the cell phone. They love it when you get cut off. Y’know why, huh? You know why? ‘Cause when you call back – -which they know you’re gonna do. – -they charge you for that fuckin’ first minute again at that high rate.

Above is the only line I remember from Lethal Weapon 4* and it’s highly applicable to my current dilemma.  

My family has been with a certain large wireless carrier** since the first cell phone we had (an ancient Nokia which I remember fondly because I inherited it to call home with in college–it was also the same phone that’s featured fin the X-Files PC game.  Mulder and Scully used my cell phone for a few years there.  How’s that fun, useless info?).  We went with this carrier mostly because my Dad’s company was using it, and there’s been a company discount, plus, it meant calls to his phone would be free.  

For the most part this has worked out.  Being the luddite I am, I kept with the basic phone for several years after it was passé, but finally, in order to get in on the last of the unlimited data plans, I went for the smart phone in 2011.  And I’ve loved the thing.  It’s been my GPS, my note taking device, my way to read e-books while I eat lunch, my way to keep up with telenovelas and has, generally, saved my sanity over the past couple of years.

But, all good things must come to an end, and in my case, the end was my phone’s ability to charge.  I’ve tried all known fixes (yes, kids, I have cracked open a cell phone and replaced parts because I’m not a girl to be cowed by something that involves very tiny hex keys).  But, it’s bricked. Read the rest of this entry »

Trying To Bust a Time Vampire

I made a mistake.

A big one.

I downloaded a game on my phone.

I never thought I would.  I mean, other than Angry Birds, which I downloaded primarily to see what the hype was about.  I was amused, but the pigs piss me the heck off when I don’t destroy them.  That smirk is just too much.

With that potential addiction taken care of, I figured I was safe.  My phone-time-wasting would be on something like Twitter or Wikipedia or reading freebie e-books from Amazon.

But, in a fit of insanity, I wound up downloading a freebie game called Marble Buster.  It really is nothing special.  You launch little colored marbles up from the bottom of the screen, if you hit to connect three or more of the same color, the set disappears.  You’re trying to clear the screen before, as you might expect, the screen moves down and the marbles already on screen touch the bottom.  It’s what happens when brick-break and connect-4 have child.

A demonically addictive bastard child.

It’s just simple enough that it’s easy to start it up and play for a bit.  It’s just frustrating enough to keep you wanting to move up another level, without becoming so much of a piss off that you abandon it (like Angry Birds).

I really do detest myself for doing this.  I’ve lost hours to this game.  It once distracted me from an entire episode of Castle, and not a lot really does that.  More precious minutes, vacuumed away….

Pondering Youth and Cell Phones

My friend calls me the “texting Nazi” because I’m such a stickler about letting students use cell phones during my classes. If I see you using a cell phone in my class you get a zero for the day no matter what else you did in class that day.  In my opinion in rude, disrespectful and distracting.  My students don’t get it.  Though I’m not willing to adjust my teaching to match, I’ve come to realize that cell phones are such a constant attachment to my students’ hands that they honestly don’t realize why it’s so rude to pull it out at certain moments.  I don’t like it, I do everything possible to discourage it, but I have somewhat accepted it as reality.

But something happened this week that gave me a whole new appreciation (and horror) for these kids’ complete lack of understanding of propriety with cell phones . And perhaps indicates something even darker about one of my students.  It happened on Monday and I’m still kind of shaken by it.

Week before last one of my students emailed me that his grandfather had passed away.  He wanted to work out a way to make up a quiz he would miss and I was happy to help.  I also let him know that I could excuse the absence if he got me documentation.  Now I hate asking for documentation when it’s because of a death in the family, but the fact is that people do take advantage of that excuse and at the end of the day it’s not even my rule.  I told him I’m really lenient about what I’ll accept as documentation and suggested an obituary, bulletin from the funeral, prayer card or even a note from his mom.

On Monday he approached me at the beginning of class with his cell phone and said, “I thought I’d just take a picture.”  I glanced up, not even knowing what he was referencing, and saw a photo of his grandfather’s corpse.  Startled I just stammered, “um… okay.”  It took a few minutes for the horror of the moment to sink in.

What has me so shaken is not that I saw a photo of a dead body.  I’ve seen them before.  There’s a long cultural precedent for it.  Back in the day taking photos of the corpse was standard procedure.  What bothers me is imagining the moment in which this photo was taken.  The knowledge that there was a moment at either the funeral or wake when this kid whipped out his cell phone to take a photo.  Did the rest of the family see it?  What did they think of it?  I can tell you how that would go over with my family.

Part of me is cynical enough to wonder if it even was what he said it was.  Or if he was just mad I asked for documentation and found a photo online.  I haven’t done an image search because I have no desire to look through photos of dead bodies.  I think I just want to believe this rather than the alternative.

And I wonder if it’s just this kid, or if there are a lot of kids his age who think it’s acceptable behavior.  I’m not sure I want to know.

Kids these days…