The dumbest thing I said today

The context: my father has been told that he needs to replace his phone by January 1, because it is not 5G capable and T-Mobile is phasing out all of their 3G towers.

“Yeah, I can’t imagine they’re that busy at 2:30 the day before Thanksgiving. Let’s just go get it taken care of.”


(I’m not griping, especially since I’m fully aware my dad will read this. But it was completely stupid of me to not realize these places are crazy-busy all the time, and “the day before Thanksgiving” is not a salient concept to people who need phones, because that is a thing that is not always something you can put off.)

And I came home and stuffed my face with Chicago deep-dish pizza, so all in all I am full of cheese and it was a good day.

On cell phones, classrooms and idiots

I suspect that what happened in my classroom today could be used by other members of our staff as evidence that I need to be more vigilant in patrolling our students for cell phones and confiscating them or forcing them to be returned to lockers. And while I don’t actually want this post to be About Cellphones, I think it’s just more evidence that schools have irretrievably lost the battle about cell phones. To be clear, before I get too far ahead of myself: I do think cellphones were used in my classroom today in a way that is a problem. However, I think the problem doesn’t lie with the phones themselves, I think it lies with the people using them– and, worse, the people I’m referring to are the adults, not the kids.

Anyway. I had just gotten class started today in my 3rd-4th hour group, which is my largest by a decent margin and, oh gee what a surprise, also my most disciplinarily problematic by a similarly large margin. Suddenly one of my girls jumped up out of her seat, in tears, and started hollering about how she had to go to the office, and then headed for the door. Like, out of Goddamned nowhere.

I caught up to her just before she actually got out of the room and got her into the hallway to talk to me, and it turned out that there was some sort of sudden family emergency. I’m not clear on the details and don’t see the point of sharing them anyway, but Mom decided that the way to let her daughter know that something horrible had happened with one of her family members was to text her while she was in fucking class and tell her.

So now she’s panicking, my class is blown up, and every fucker in the room knows something’s going on with her family and is bothering her and asking her all sorts of questions. And had it been a teacher other than me whose room this happened in, I can easily imagine it turning into a fucking power struggle over the cell phone and not a quick pass down to the office, which was my reaction– or, if she’d moved faster, an utterly confused call to security, where all I have is so-and-so just got up and ran out and I have no idea where the fuck she went.

PARENTS! I understand why kids have cell phones! My kid is 9 and he will likely have one within a year. Why? Well, he lives in a house with no Goddamned land line, and he’s getting old enough that leaving him at home alone for brief periods of time and/or having him at activities without us is starting to become a conceivable thing, and once those things are happening he needs a way to get ahold of us. I also do not agree that kids should keep their expensive-ass cell phones (or even their cheap burner cell phones) in their lockers, which are not remotely as secure as administration would like us to believe. Nah. Their phones are in their pockets. I don’t love it, but I’ve made my peace with it. Schools lost that battle. So be it.

Don’t fucking call or text your kids when they’re at Goddamned school.

Especially do not call your kids and tell them about family emergencies when they are at school, even if your overarching goal is to get them down to the office so you can pick them up. You call the fucking office, and the office calls for the kid to come down and bring their stuff, and then your kid doesn’t have a fucking panic attack in front of their entire class.

Christ. I need y’all to be smarter than this.

Random question for the olds

4899194035_30ee19703f_oI’m guessing you’d need to be at least 30-35 for your answer to this question to matter to me– old enough that you spent your life on analog/wired phones, and that you bought *yourself* your first cell phone.  Two questions:

1) Do you actually remember getting your first cell phone?  Like, was it an Event?  Can you describe the phone, or nail down what year it was that you bought it?

2) Can you remember sending or receiving your first text message?  (Preferably, for the purposes of this question, these two events did not occur on the same day– in other words, you had a cell phone before text messages were a Thing.)

Just curious.  And, for the record, I’m just as interested in the “no” answers as the “Yes, this is when it was” answers, so if you don’t remember one of the two, let me know.  Thanks.

In which the future is subtle

original(I pulled the sale post off of the front page because I’m tired of looking at it; the sale is still good at least through the end of the day and I might extend it through Monday if I make some sales today.  Yesterday went well; expect a roundup early next week for those of you who enjoy data posts.  Buy my booooooooks!)

I Tweeted about this yesterday, but Twitter is by nature kind of ephemeral and those posts are already off the front page, and also I’m inexplicably wide awake at 7:20 AM on my last day of Thanksgiving break, so I might as well write about something— I had two outbursts of The Future yesterday that struck me as interesting enough to write about.

Outbreak the First:  I am about to take a shower, but have a couple of random computer tasks that need doing on a desktop first.  I leave my phone on a bookshelf in the living room and go into my office to use the computer.  My mother calls.

My watch lets me know my phone is ringing.  My phone’s on silent.  I don’t hear it and neither does anyone else.  The phone’s a good fifty feet away and behind a couple of walls.

I proceed to answer the phone with my computer and have a conversation with my mother about having lunch today.  She appears to have no idea that anything is odd about the conversation.

I got my first cell phone fifteen years ago; prior to that, I’d always been tethered to land lines.  Now I don’t even need the phone with me.   That’s awesome.

Outbreak the Second:  We made the kieflies (I really need to find out how to spell that) at my in-laws’ place yesterday.  Or at least we put them together there; the recipe requires about 24 hours for the dough to chill before you can fill and fold them.  My mother-in-law and I were mostly doing the filling while my father-in-law and my wife alternately put things in the oven and monitored the boy.

At one point we had to explain to him that Grandma and Grandpa’s TV didn’t work like Mommy and Daddy’s does, because they don’t get to decide when to watch things.  See, we’re cord-cutters and we watch everything through Netflix, Hulu or iTunes on our Apple TV.  My parents have a DVR and have filled it with an assortment of kids’ programming that he likes.

Her parents, on the other hand, have the same kind of TV that everyone did prior to, oh, seven or eight years ago:  you get the TV that is being piped into your house at the time it’s being piped in and that’s all the TV you get.  And the boy just did not get it.  He wanted his Mickey Mouse show or the Winnie the Pooh movie he’s been into lately and just absolutely did not comprehend why the TV in front of him couldn’t produce it on demand.

Which, when you think about it, is awesome.  I like TV a lot more now that I don’t have to wrap my life around its schedule, y’know?  And he’s young enough that he has no idea that that ever happened.

The Future!