I don’t care what Siri’s political beliefs are–I’m too busy playing Words With Friends

So a couple of months ago, I bowed to the inevitable and got an iPhone.

I had held out for years in an attempt to be non-conformist. I don’t LIKE doing the same thing that everyone else does. But the peer pressure got to be too much and I caved.

Of course, I waited until I could get the newest release and woke up at 3am like an idiot to pre-order the iPhone 4S so that I could at least have the far superior model to what everyone else had on the very first day possible.

And I have to admit, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

And one of the worst.

On the plus side, I’m no longer in the cellular dark ages. I can do all that cool crap that everyone else has been doing for years. And I am, in fact, kicking myself for not doing it earlier.

But the 4S is a joke. Like Siri was cool for the first day and a half when I asked her all the stupid questions that everyone else was asking her. And I laughed when she got mad that I kept asking about Hal 9000. (Please tell me that someone other than my dad knows what I’m talking about.)

Although I was extremely disappointed that when I asked what the airspeed velocity of an unladden swallow was, she didn’t ask “African or European swallow?”

But I giggled with moronic delight when I asked her “Who’s the boss?” And she came up with the ONLY correct answer.

And then I never used her again.

I mean, I know people are all up in arms about her unwillingness to provide you with the location of an abortion clinic. But, to be fair, what dumbass is walking around and suddenly says, “Hmm, I think I need an abortion before I walk another five blocks. Siri, where’s the closest abortion clinic?”

Actual answer from Siri on MY phone.  Just saying…

(That wasn’t a statement of political belief. I’m just saying you should probably make the decision before you leave the house. And maybe get a doctor’s recommendation on where to go instead of Siri’s. Yes, your iPhone can do a lot of things. And the x-ray app is kinda cool. But that doesn’t make Siri a medical professional.)

I also think the 4S was a complete rip-off. Like yeah, it has Siri and a better camera, but it looks EXACTLY the same as the 4. Which completely and utterly defeats the purpose of putting out a different phone, because unless I walk around obnoxiously asking Siri questions every three seconds, how are random people supposed to know that I have a better phone than they do?

Come on, Apple. Priorities.

But none of those things are why the iPhone is slowly destroying my life.

And it’s not even because I’ve spent a huge chunk of my savings that SHOULD have been spent on shoes buying worthless and pointless apps that amuse me for a couple of minutes before being forgotten about forever.

No, it’s because of the soulless, mind-sucking, life-destroying mental vacuum that is Words With Friends.

I’m totally addicted.

I honestly didn’t even plan to download the game. When I was a child, Scrabble was used as a torture device and the only form of punishment that I truly feared. Because being sent to my room wasn’t much of an inconvenience. I had my books and music and tv in there. So if I smacked my little brother upside the head for something and heard, “Sara! Go to your room!” it was like, okay, time to play!

But Scrabble? Oh no. That was REAL punishment. It was the only board game at my aunt and uncle’s Ocean City condo, and if my brother and I didn’t behave well enough, we had to play Scrabble with my mother instead of going to the boardwalk. I tried calling Child Protective Services, because that was CLEARLY a form of abuse. But when they showed up, my parents made them play Scrabble too until they finally lost, at which point they just turned to me, shrugged, and said, “You’re on your own, kid.”

Now that I’m older and have a much larger vocabulary, however, the game has become ridiculously addictive. Of course, it probably helps that it’s the high-tech version, because I still have nightmares about old-fashioned Scrabble sets in that Mommy Dearest, no-more-wire-hangers kind of way. But the game is approximately 94% more addictive than crack.

At the moment, I have nineteen different games going with fourteen different people. I’m not exaggerating. Like I know I sometimes blow things out of proportion for the sake of humor on the blog, but those are real numbers. I swear on Bruce Springsteen.

In fact, the thing that I hate most about Maryland’s new law prohibiting the use of cell phones even at traffic lights is that I can’t play while I’m at a light.

Well, okay, I CAN. I just have to keep my phone in my lap and my sunglasses on so it doesn’t LOOK like I’m looking at my phone when I’m stopped at a traffic light. Which is probably pretty conspicuous at night and when it’s raining.

And it’s probably bad that I play at school. Usually with other teachers during our planning periods, but also with former students. Who are also in school. But they’re at my old school, not the school that I currently teach at, and because they’re no longer in MY classes, I no longer feel compelled to tell Rachel and Alli to get off their phones. (I promised I’d mention them today… Hi guys!)

But I think my favorite thing about the game isn’t that I’m consistently beating my parents. Which I am. And it feels great. (Sorry mom and dad. Please don’t pull out the real Scrabble set next time I’m at your house. I’ll behave. I promise!)

No, my favorite thing is playing bad words to see what it will accept. For example, a certain four-letter word beginning with an “s” that means excrement is acceptable, although f-bombs aren’t. And it accepts “chode” and “dildos,” the discovery of which made me laugh out loud so loudly that people assumed I was having a seizure.

At this point, I will literally play any moderately profane word to see if it accepts it, even if it means I will lose the game. Because I apparently have the sense of humor of a twelve-year-old boy. If he met me online and didn’t know what I looked like, Jerry Sandusky would love me.

But I also think that the game is secretly trying to kill me by being so addictive that I WANT to play it even when I’m driving.

And I have proof.

Words With Friends doesn’t recognize the word “Jews.” But it DOES recognize “shivah,” which is the Hebrew equivalent of a wake (but less fun), when Jews mourn for seven days after someone has died.

See? Jews aren’t okay, but DEAD Jews are.

Coincidence? Or evil plot?

To be honest though, I don’t really care. Because I’ve got nineteen games to get back to.

Peace out.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned by her cable/internet provider

Last week, I got an Apple TV and a subscription to Netflix, which (because I can buy shoes and groceries online) basically means I will never have to leave my house again.

Of course, because the universe hates me, setting the Apple TV up was NOT as easy as it should have been. According to Apple Support, (iSupport? And for that matter, why isn’t Apple TV called iTV? Actually, it’s probably better as Apple TV. iTV sounds like an STD. Like I picture a doctor talking to a patient and saying, “It’s actually quite serious. You’ve contracted iTV. You’re going to have to notify all of your past sexual partners because they could have been exposed as well.” NOT something you’d want to give as a Christmas present.) it won’t work on my TV at all without being wobbly.

Two days later, the score was my dad: 1, Apple Support: 0. Well played dad, well played.

So I was thrilled at how easily I would be able to watch movies/TV shows/all of the concert videos from my computer.

Which means that something had to go horribly, horribly wrong. Because like the course of true love, my life never runs smooth.

Thank you Verizon Fios, for stepping up to the challenge of screwing everything up.

I suppose I should be grateful. Fios completely dying on me is less expensive to deal with than my TV blowing up or my surround sound amplifier catching on fire. But it’s also more annoying, because I currently have ZERO cable OR internet service.

In other words, I’ve been Amish for the past 36-48 hours, depending on when you’re reading this.

Okay, okay, not TRULY Amish. Because I still have electricity and running water and store-bought butter, and yes, TECHNICALLY I can still get on the internet VERY slowly by using my cell phone as a mobile hotspot and docking it to my computer.  So maybe more Mennonite than Amish. But whatever you call it, it flat out sucks. A lot.

I don’t think of myself as a person who watches a lot of television. I’ve got a handful of shows that I’m addicted to (at the moment, Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, House, Glee, and South Park are all set up to record the series on my dvr), but other than those, I don’t really watch anything else. I can’t stand reality shows or anything on Bravo or E!, so when the cable went out yesterday and the Fios guys told me they couldn’t get anyone out here until Friday, I figured it was a pain, but I would be okay.

About an hour after that phone call, I called Fios support back and BEGGED them to send someone out sooner. In that hour, Rosie and I had somehow regressed to a Lord of the Flies type scenario, with war paint smeared on our faces, a conch shell, spears, and a mysterious beast stalking us through my apartment.

Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. The beast didn’t show up until the second hour without TV or internet.

Luckily, the wait is almost over. In theory. Because, in theory, the Fios repair guy is supposed to show up this afternoon. In theory.

The problem is that the only window they had available was 1pm-5pm today, unless I wanted to wait until Tuesday night. And if I waited until Tuesday, I’m pretty sure that by the time they DID arrive, I’d have “No TV and no beer make Homer go crazy” scribbled all over my walls and it would look like the scene out of Apocalypse Now when they finally find Marlon Brando and he’s a fat psychopath who has enslaved all the natives. I mean, the horror. The horror.

But one to five this afternoon? Um, hello, I have a job! So I warned them that I can’t be there before three today, and I think I made myself sufficiently clear that they absolutely NEEDED to arrive AFTER three.

Which means the guy is going to call me at 1:15 to say he’s there.

And if that happens, God have mercy on everyone who works within a thirty mile radius of any Fios employee. Because I’m not going to go medieval on them. Oh no. Sorry Quentin Tarantino, but that’s not nearly scary enough. I’m going to go biblical. I’m talking darkness and locusts and smiting their first born.

It’s probably not healthy that instead of reading or working on my next book (or even getting ahead on my blog posts), I’ve been sitting here plotting my revenge against Fios for when they show up too early. But I know that’s going to happen. And while I threatened over the phone last night to go back to Comcast, I don’t really want to do that either. Because after years of suffering at the hand of Comcast, I finally freed myself from its evil empire, and I don’t want to go crawling back like a battered woman returning to her abuser again and again.

So Fios guy, if by some chance you’re reading this, I’d show up around 3:15 today if I were you. Because while William Congreve (NOT William Shakespeare, as the line is commonly misattributed to) said, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,” what he MEANT to say was “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned BY HER INTERNET AND CABLE PROVIDER.”

The end is near: my grandma is on "the Book of Face"

The apocalypse is upon us.

No, I’m not talking about global warming, natural disasters, or House being canceled (God forbid).

My grandmother is on Facebook.

Granted, she calls it “the Book of Face” and expects people to know what she’s talking about. But she has a profile. I should know. I had to set it up for her.

My grandmother and technology are not friends. In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re arch enemies. Like if technology is Batman, my grandmother is the Joker. If it’s Superman, she’s Lex Luther. If technology is me, she’s spiders. You get the idea.

Maybe that’s a little harsh. It’s not that she TRIES to foil technology. She does it unwittingly. On a daily basis.

For example, when I was in college, she got her first computer and decided that she wanted Instant Messenger. Of course, she probably thought this was related to Instant Coffee in some way (my grandmother is the Queen of Malapropisms. She’s been known to take the “HIV Lane” when she’s got someone else in the car with her, and she may believe that the SATs are what you get when you have unprotected sex), but she’d heard of it, so she wanted it even though she didn’t have any idea what it was. And I, thinking, “cool, this’ll be a great way to keep in touch with her while I’m at college,” obliged.

Fail on my part.

Maybe the problem was that I didn’t explain the concept well enough. Because every time she sent me an IM, it was about six pages long, and she signed it, “Love ME (Grandma)” at the end. Every time. Which annoyed the crap out of me, because people who say “it’s me” on the phone or sign things that way irritate me to an inordinate degree (because if you don’t know who it is, that doesn’t help, and if you DO know who it is, it’s unnecessary), but in an IM? It says who it is at the top of the screen! Then she was SHOCKED when I would reply, because she’d JUST sent her message to me and she didn’t understand how I knew she had just sent it.

Unfortunately, Instant Messenger stopped working on her computer one day. (When I deleted the application. Oops.) And I just couldn’t seem to get it working again. What a shame.

But that didn’t stop Grandma from using email and other forms of technology as they became available.

Which led to the password problem. I tend to use variations of the same three passwords for most of my accounts. Smart? Maybe not. But I seldom have trouble remembering what my password is. My grandmother, on the other hand, has a different password for every single thing on the internet. And in theory, she writes them down. But, in a world with HIV Lanes on 270, passwords sometimes go missing. And then I have to walk her through the steps of password retrieval. Over the phone. Not good.

(Although trying to get her to remember her password has one upside: it causes lots of profanity. Which I find absolutely hilarious. There’s nothing funnier than when my grandma drops an F-bomb. It’s like when Betty White does it. Seriously. If I put a video of her trying to figure out her passwords on YouTube, she’d be famous within an hour. Then she would murder me. But it might be worth it.)

So when I finally figured out what she meant when she told me that she wanted to get the Book of Face, I decided it would just be easier if I set it up for her. Being the good granddaughter that I am (although I suppose if I was THAT good, I wouldn’t be blogging about this experience. Please don’t cut me out of the will, Grandma! I love you!), I went over there to help her.

Name: no problem. Education: no problem. Interests: no problem. Picture: problem.

I had several pictures on my page that had her in them, and I suggested that we crop one of those to use as her profile picture.

“But I look so OLD in those pictures,” she complained.

“You ARE old,” I thought, but tried not to say. I didn’t quite succeed. But to appease her, I did try to find a picture where she looked LESS old to use. All of them were denied.

Finally, joking, I pulled up a picture of her and my grandfather from right before they got married.

“Perfect,” she said. “Can we take your grandfather out of the picture though?”

“Um, Grandma? This picture was taken 63 years ago.”

“I know, that’s why it’s perfect. I want my old boyfriends to be able to find me.”

(While this conversation is going on, mind you, my grandfather was downstairs sleeping in his easy chair.)

In my head, I tried to explain the ridiculousness of this to her. Her old boyfriends are probably dead. If they aren’t, they probably aren’t on the Book of Face. AND HER HUSBAND IS DOWNSTAIRS. But I looked at my grandmother and realized that none of these arguments would get me anywhere. So I sighed and cropped my grandfather out of the picture.

So in her facebook picture, my grandmother is nearly ten years younger than I am now.

See what I mean? The apocalypse is coming.

But I should really stop making fun of her lack of internet skills. Not because it’s mean, but because I recently sat down with my best friend to try to learn about using Twitter. And I thought she was talking about drugs when she started explaining hashtags.

Like grandmother like granddaughter, I guess.