My new phone is starting to freak me out a little. Last week it began showing me notifications around the time I leave for work that said things like, “Your drive to work today will take 39 minutes. Normal traffic.”
It’s useful information, and I’m glad to have it. However… I didn’t set it up. The phone is just doing it on its own. Weird, huh? How does it know where I work? How does it know when I leave the house? It’s mildly disturbing.
Yesterday I was off, and was expecting it to know that, as well. I was braced for an “enjoy your day off” message. But it dispensed the traffic info around 1:30, as normal. Give it a few more weeks, though. Oh, it’ll learn. It’s amassing information about me, even as I type. Right now it’s listening, and analyzing, and forming opinions…
Like I say, it’s starting to freak me out a little.
I broke ground on a new novel yesterday. It’s about a couple of dumbass guys, roughly my height, age, and weight, on an ill-conceived road trip. The last project I attempted was a bit too ambitious, and I abandoned it. Temporarily, anyway. This one is a lot simpler, and is designed for pure entertainment. I’m already having a good time writing it. I have a lot of notes, and a kinda-sorta outline. Plus, I know the ending, which is a step up from the Crossroads Road experience.
I’m using a program called Scrivener for the first time. It’s popular among writers, and I probably bought it two years ago. But there’s a steep learning curve, and who has time for such things? I kept putting it off, and just using Microsoft Word.
But I watched a half-dozen YouTube tutorials, and learned enough to get me started. So far, I’m loving it. I won’t bore you with the details, but, among other things, it allows you to turn a gigantic undertaking into a bunch of bite-sized projects. I plan to complete one of those small projects per week, and have the first draft done in 20 weeks. Stay tuned. And I’ll try not to talk about it too much here.
One more thing, though… In the first paragraph, which I wrote yesterday, there’s a line that popped into my head that was so perfect I think I actually pumped my fist in the air. I think it might be one of my best lines ever. And, appropriately enough, it’s about ass cracks. Oh, this is going to be high literature!
Speaking of highbrow, my friend Tim sent me this email a couple of days ago about some of our high school ridiculousness:
Somebody was talking about school lockers today. It reminded me about how you could open any locker in the high school, and we’d roam the halls at lunch time, and you’d just open a random locker for the heck of it and leave it open.
Remember that one locker near the library that always had a Playgirl centerfold hanging in it? You’d open that thing wide open, and we’d go hide in the library and listen as some innocent girl would be sashaying down the hall, and let out a blood curdling scream as she came eye to eye with some guy wearing a hard hat and his giant schlong hanging out.
Heh. Good times. I think I could still walk into that school today and open any locker, within one minute. Unless they’ve upgraded them during the past 35 years… And who are we fooling? Of course they haven’t. They’re still the same lockers my parents used when THEY went there, back when Eisenhower was president. I’d like to think the poster of Johnny Ampleseed is still there, though. But that would also be a long-shot, pardon the pun.
For a Question, I’d like to know if you have any school locker stories. It’s a weak question, I recognize that… But it’s all I got and need to hit the highway. My phone tells me it’ll be smooth sailing, but I still need to go. So, use the comments link to tell us your tales of school locker shenanigans.
And don’t forget about our Amazon links! Just pass through ‘em, and buy a car or whatever. Does Amazon sell cars? Well, anyway. You get the idea.
Have a great weekend, my friends.
I’ll see you again soon.
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The Facebook has freaked me out by automatically (and correctly) suggesting the person I’m with in a photo…. I no longer post many photos. In general I keep my “location services” turned off on my phone. Something about being tracked and automatically recognized brings out my inner tinfoil hat persona.
I’m no expert on smart phones, but there’s this: although turning off location services for iPhones and Android phones does make location information unavailable to most apps, the operating systems themselves can still access GPS and, of course, wireless network connectivity information. The example both systems use for the operating systems overriding your wishes to remain off the grid is a 911 call, in which the operating systems will share location information with the local emergency center. Android says, “There’s nothing inherently dangerous here — your phone just wants to make sure you’re well-informed.”
Yeah, but location information is available via backdoor, hacking, and more legitimate indirect routes. With a smart phone you’re never really alone, which I don’t find the least bit comforting.
My flip phone can’t access GPS data, and I don’t use the phone to connect to the web via wireless networks. The phone location can theoretically be derived by triangulation, but in an urban setting, building bounce, echo, cell handoff, and other factors make it a pain in the ass to keep track of me.
I am neither a spy nor a paranoid (Ok, maybe I’m one of those) but my location, my activities, my human interactions, and my commerce are my business and nobody else’s.
Hell, even my Safeway Club Card is registered to some schlub in Scranton, PA named Jeff Kay who seems to purchase an inordinate amount of tobacco products and whiskey.
I am not an engineer. None of the above information is guaranteed to be true or even on the right track except the Safeway stuff.
Facebook has a tendency to suggest something me and the girlfriend were just talking about. Corn fungus nachos? Facebook, you get me!
First? That’s a first.
First?! Wow! Anyway, I actually have a school locker story. I lived a block from our high school, and when some annoying kid had pushed me to my limit, I decided to walk back to school after hours and crazy glue his locker combo dial. Problem is, I was off by one locker, which I found out when the football team’s star defensive linebacker showed-up to school, vowing to kill whoever glued his locker shut. This kid was as wide as he was tall, and had a very italian name (if you know what I mean). Neither he nor the jerk I was targeting ever found out.
My buddy Steve was really good at figureing out combination locks. We used to go around at lunch and take peoples locks off and switch them around or lock up an unlocked locker. We would also go out to the bike rack, unlock one and lock two or three up at the same time. Damn it was funny!
Alice in WV says
After hs graduation, I would occasionally dream about my locker combination. Don’t know why.
We had to bring a lock to school when I was in high school. This was in the early 1980s. I guess this was due to the place being brand new and the lockers did not have the built-in locks. I recall someone’s locker around mine always smelling of cigarettes and Mad Dog.
Mister Duh says
We took the inside back of our lockers off to see what was behind them. Turns out there was a gap between the back of the lockers and the classrooms, so we could walk unseen behind the lockers. We could also hide contraband up above our lockers from behind.
I think the best use we made of this was to close ourselves into a locker, wait until a class started on the other side of the wall, then bang wildly on the classroom wall until the teacher came out to see wtf all the racket was. We could watch all this through the locker vents. Fun.
@Jeff – I also noticed the spooky google notifications so recently I googled “google maps my location history” and it has every freaking place I’ve been in the last 6 months, the routes I used to get there, the time it took me, and my blood type. It is both horrifying and fascinating.
My husbands phone does things like that. Around lunch time the screen will say “thinking about lunch?” And have names and pictures of local restaurants.
Two locker stories: In junior high, I discovered I (or anyone else for that matter) could open my PE locker without removing the lock. They were so old and had been slammed shut so many times with the lock engaged that all you needed to do was lift the handle because it had enough “play” in it that the latch would open.
My senior year of high school I was assigned a locker on the bottom row of four (they were small) and a 4’0″ girl had the top row. My 6’1″ self kept all my locker-stuff in my car.
Not Oprah says
Brings to mind a couple of memories – Don’t have kids and so don’t know if things have changed – in elementary school (stone age, we probably had peanut butter fights back then) we kept our lunches in our lockers (do they at least have fridges now?) My family has mostly immigrated from Eastern Europe, so usually kielbasa sandwiches in my lunch – could always smell garlic as I walked by my locker – not so cool.
Also a funny memory as far as playboy pics go – in grade 7 there was a history/geography teacher who was very nerdy and allegedly escaped from a Hutterite colony. He would pull down the map of the world and frequently a centerfold would have been taped on – wish we had youtube back in the day!
High school lockers in NYC in the early 70s existed but were not issued to high school kids. My school had literally thousands of them but we weren’t allowed the use of them.
What’s the story on that? Drugs, gangs, and weapons?
It was never stated. I’m sure contraband whatever was the fear. The result was hauling around very heavy book bags from class to class all day.
Does your phone ever tell you how much fecal matter is on it? Because apparently phones have more than you’d like to imagine. I read that. While I was swipecrappin.
In my day we didn’t use locks on lockers. Small southern town where all the boys carried knives on their belts and could walk to the lake with a 22 over their shoulder.
Some jock put a wad of chewed tobacco on a cheerleader’s locker handle. Looked like a big turd and she went ape shit. I still laugh.
I never had a school locker until 10th grade, when I started a new school when we moved. This was a modern school, built in the 1960s, so everything was relatively new and working. It was a time bereft of hijinx,
And BTW, happy belated Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday.
From the looks of him, we’re also sneaking up on Dylan’s 100th birthday. Bobby’s down to a five-note range on a good night, but there was a time when the man could sing holes through a storm. I’ll leave Sinatra to the bobby-soxers and take Bob’s voice over Frank’s every day with matinees Wednesdays and Saturdays.
I don’t have any locker stories but the other day, I found a lock in my junk drawer. I was about to throw it out when Beloved said to save it. I finally convinced him we don’t know the combination so it is, in fact, a piece of heavy garbage.
Jeff, you can shut it off – if you have an iPhone, go to Settings/Privacy/Location Services (ok to leave this on), scroll down to System Services/Frequent Locations and turn that shit off.
Not cool that it’s automatically enabled with a new phone.