Hey Alfred

I just got an email from Bank of America telling me about their new digital assistant what lives inside their app. Her name is Erica and apparently she will make my BofA experience so much better. I don’t need any more assistants or assistance in fact I have made an effort to cut the number in my life down to one. Between Alexa, Siri, Okay Google, and Bixby, I was just saying too many nonsensical names out loud to ask simple questions. So I have trimmed down to just “Hey Siri” because I am nipples deep in the Apple ecosystem and the others were just bothering me.

Alexa for one was always listening and sending what was happening back to the mothership for analysis. I know they all do that but I feel like Apple has figured out how to charge enough to stay in business where everyone else has to sell my info to make any money. My naturally suspicious brain still doesn’t understand how Google can afford to give so much away for free. (still use Gmail like it’s a god given right) And Amazon doesn’t even charge what the echo things cost just to try to dig in like an all-knowing tick. (I pay them to be a part of their special club like millions of other sheep) Don’t even get me started on that evil Facebook Portal Plus camera phone they are advertising right now because I don’t trust that smug little prick as far as I can paper football flick him. (but when he gets tired of trying to sell them and ships every user one for free I won’t refuse the package)

Every once in a while I get that boiling frog feeling regarding my privacy. You know that old saying about boiling frogs in room temperature water and turning the heat up slowly so the stupid things don’t figure out whats happening until it’s too late… it sure seems to be getting warm in here personal information wise. That might seem odd coming from a guy who doesn’t really care what he talks about on this stupid thing but I am in complete control of this nonsense.

The only option out of the system is to completely disconnect and that is something I’m unwilling to do. I love being able to look crazy shit up on my schedule. I love being able to learn like I watch TV, constantly changing channels. I love technology. Even if I were to try to go completely off grid I would need the internet to teach me how because the thought of hauling a pile of survivalist books around with me at all times seems exhausting.

Apologies for that side order of paranoia. Just before sitting down to write this I got angry because none of these things let you change their names. I hate saying the name Siri. I would not be friends with someone so annoyingly named and yet she lives in all of my devices. I get that they were trying to go with the uncommon as to trigger fewer false positives but come on. The technology HAS to be there. My inner nerd would love something like Hal, or Jarvis, or my childhood favorite, Alfred. Even some mild swearing would cheer me up. By the way, as long as I’m asking for features, I would love to be able to choose a salty assistant. One that would swear back at me…

“Hey Alfred” “What now dumbshit?”

Soft serve delivery

It snowed.

Way more than normal but no need to name the storm or add a dramatic made up term to it like blizzaster. It just snowed a bunch and now it’s cold. Anyone who lives around here understands the science involved.

You shovel as much of the heavy snow as you can as many times as you can over the course of a twelve hour storm. Get things as clean as possible knowing full well that the plow drivers are going to unintentionally screw you overnight. They have to go at speed to clear the streets which sends waves of brown slush arcing everywhere.

The next day if it’s cold you have no shot at cleaning anything even if you bought all the ice melt in the area. You can try but it’s a fools errand. So when I heard a delivery truck out front and realized that my duck blind was blinder than normal…

I got to the front door just in time to see my delivery dude go ass over teacup and my box take flight. When he handed me my package he had the nerve to bitch at me about the ice on my frozen surface of the moon driveway. No mention about flinging my package which happened to be a drunken kickstarter frying pan but he didn’t know that.

Why don’t you move somewhere warm where someone as soft as you are will have a better chance at survival?

I got nothing in response and he couldn’t even hurry away as he had to traverse back down the ice field. I stayed at the door until he climbed back in his truck knowing he would glance back up at me and when he did I waived.

Slowsgiving

I mentioned that middle child had to work Thanksgiving into Black Friday so we decided to go see her. She works at an enormous mall near us called Woodfield. We got there at around 11:30pm and the parking lot was packed. I’ve been going to that mall since I was ten years old and that was the craziest I had ever seen it.

We found a spot but once we got inside things got worse. It was wall to wall people. I haven’t done any kind of Black Friday anything for years so I was under the impression that in person retail was almost dead. If that night was any indication there is still life left.

Never saw the kid because the line for her store was an hour long. I love my child but all of those people were making my skin crawl. We only ended up staying about an hour in total and the people watching was top notch. Best guests by far were a roaming group of college age boys.

They would position themselves in a big crowd or line and start cheering and clapping. People around them would join in for no reason and the mall population would head in their direction as if a celebrity had been sighted. I watched it happen three times as I waited for my wife to fight her way out of various stores. I love some good annoying fun.

For some reason this turkey day weekend is creeping by at a snails pace.

Thanks memories

Remember that time that Dad was so hung over his only contribution to Thanksgiving was starting a massive grease fire… yup, could barely move all morning and then when I was finally asked to help I screwed up in a royal fashion. The turkey needed to be removed from the oven but the massive bird was cooking in a flimsy roasting pan. As I pulled it out the pan kinked in the middle and as soon as the spilling grease hit the bottom of the oven a fire broke out.

Got that under control only to find that the house looked like an 80’s rock video. I also learned that our Nest Protect smoke detector is a complete smartass. I kept muting the alarm as we opened windows and tried to air things out. On the final try it told me the smoke was too thick and it could no longer be silenced. I had to get a plastic bad and a rubber band to make it shut up. The dogs were both losing their minds and turning off the beep was the only way to calm things down.

Try not to be jealous of our super sweet 1964 popcorn ceiling. This is my version of DIY.

Next up was water flowing downstairs from the upstairs shower. All the shower water flowing through the walls and the ceiling. Raining light fixtures are never a holiday feel good but we got things as dry as possible and I now have a project to work on tomorrow. Eldest child spent last night in the hospital thinking her appendix burst only to find out she had a kidney stone and middle daughter has to work retail from 11:30pm tonight until 7:30am. Black Friday is a pisser and there are threats of us all going to see her at some point in the middle of the night. Sounds fun but I am ready for this day to end.