Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The iPad is

Completely fine.

The kid's Dad did a hard reset.

I, however, am still recovering from a resounding defeat.  79% to 20%? Seriously?

Monday, 28 March 2011

The Empire State Building

Friday night, my almost 12 year old son B. and a friend went into his bedroom with his iPad and my computer and closed the door behind them.  They emerged two and a half hours later smirking uncontrollably.  "Don't worry," I said to my husband,  "I'm sure it was completely innocent."

If you call "jailbreaking" an iPad innocent.

Jailbreaking - for those of you without 12 year old boys in your house - is the practice of hacking Apple hardware so that you can download the software (i.e., the apps) for free.  Apparently, there are many videos online explaining in minute detail how to execute this plan.  Take comfort in the fact that B. googled jailbreaking, and according to some very reputable sources, its not illegal in the U.S.  The fact that we currently live in Canada is probably not relevant.

Needless to say, my son who is not completely sure what 7x8 is, managed to successfully jailbreak his iPad and download a bunch of apps.

(I am wishing that the story ended here).

24 hours later, flush with his success, B. gets on Skype with another one of his friends, tells the kid all about how he jailbroke his iPad, and urges said kid to jailbreak his own iPad.  (Why all these sixth graders have iPads is also a good question, but we can come back to that another time.  Focus.)

He shows the kid what website he used, how easy it is, and tells him how well it worked for him.  He may have led the kid through the process, possibly offering tips from the wise seat of experience.

Turns out the kid has only had his iPad for 13 hours.

Also turns out it's an iPad2.


So the jailbreaking doesn't work, the iPad goes black, the kid goes to tell his father, the father comes in and starts screaming at his son, and B. is watching the whole thing unfold.  Yes, we love Skype.

My son is in tears.  "My friend tried to jailbreak his iPad, and it didn't work, and it's all my fault".

My reaction was: "It's completely not your fault.  Your friend didn't have to listen to you.  You can give him any advice you want, and encourage him to do anything you want, he's the one who did the stupid thing, so he's the one at fault."

My husband's reaction was: "Don't worry, they are going to bring the iPad to the Apple store and reset it.  This is a problem that can be fixed.  Go brush your teeth and get to bed."

When B. went upstairs, my reaction was: "It's completely not B.'s fault.  His friend didn't have to listen to him.  He can give him any advice he wants, and encourage him to do anything he wants, the kid is the one who did the stupid thing, so he's the one at fault."

When B. went upstairs my husband's reaction was: "I think B. has to accept some of the responsibility here.  He encouraged his friend to do something stupid, and therefore the end result is partially his fault.  I hope he's brushing his teeth."

So this is my position: If my kids did something stupid, they absolutely could not use an excuse with me like "E. told me to eat three chocolate bars from the vending machine", or "S. told me to color on my backpack".  I would hold each of them responsible for their own behavior and I fully expect them to be able to recognize when advice is stupid and therefore not follow it.  So, if they are on the advice giving end, I offer them the same pardon. They can mouth off as much as they want - no one has to listen to them.

But, I want to hear from you.

So I am putting this to a poll.  Scroll up, look to your right, and it should be there.

Who is right?  Me or my husband?

Saturday, 26 March 2011

No Soap Radio

In the olden days when feathered bangs were cool and Emilio Estevez was the more famous brother, we used to tell a joke called NO SOAP RADIO.  You needed at least three people to tell the joke: the perp, the accomplice and the unsuspecting victim(s).

This is how it went down:

The perp would start telling a very long and detailed story, possibly involving an elephant in a bathtub.  The perp would then deliver the punch line to the non-existent joke: No Soap Radio.  The accomplice would laugh hysterically.  Accomplice and perp would say to victim "Get it? No Soap Radio.  Get it? It's hilarious" and continue to roar with laughter till tears of mirth trickled down their adolescent cheeks. It was even more evil when there were several accomplices - all guffawing - while the poor unincluded victims looked on.

One of two things would happen.  Either the victim(s) would start laughing too, just to be cool, even though there actually was nothing funny.  Or, the victim(s) would say "I don't get the joke."  Either way, the in crowd would continue to laugh, until finally someone was obliged to explain the joke so that everyone would feel included.

Which brings us to yesterday's blog post. 

Yesterday, I posted two videos.  

The first was the Erica Black Friday video which has - at this point - over 46 million views on Youtube.  It is a terrible song.  Her voice is tinny at best, robotic at worst and the whole thing is a glorified tribute to mallrats everywhere.  So, because there are currently so many major issues in the world, I called the video "Global Injustice Worse than Originally Anticipated".  What I meant was - isn't it Injust that this song is getting so many views Globally.  

Then, I posted another song that my almost 12 year old son B brought to my attention.  It's called Stere0types and it is hilarious.  It pokes fun at many nationalities and their associated stereotypes.  It has a great beat.  It is sung by a California band that does animated videos for Youtube.  I called this "But There Is Still a Glimmer of Hope that the World Will be OK."  What I meant was, if this song can get written and have a pretty decent following on Youtube (2ish million hits) then the world may not be in so much trouble after all.

Get it? 

Thursday, 24 March 2011

I'm Pretty Sure You Were There

Remember a few years ago, we were in Jerry's apartment? I think it was a Tuesday night? Maybe 9ish?  And George was there? He had just been dumped.

He was freaking out because the woman who broke up with him - her name escapes me -  said - "It's not you, it's me".

"Don't give ME 'It's not you, it's me!'" George railed, "I INVENTED 'It's not you, it's me."  Then Kramer came over, stole some food and we all went to the diner.  Is this ringing a bell?

Well, you know how you've been trying to become a Follower of this blog, and it hasn't been working?

You thought maybe you were doing something wrong?

As it turns out, it's not you, it's me.

(Will let you know when I fix the problem).

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Early Morning FAQs

Q: Is there a way to follow your blog without having to keep checking it?
A:  Yes.  When you are finished reading this sentence, continue to glance toward your right.  You will see a box that says "Follow by email".  Enter your e-mail address.  Click the submit button. You will then receive blog updates by e-mail.

Q: Is that the same as becoming a "follower" of your blog?
A: No.  If you follow by e-mail, you will get the latest postings by e-mail.  If you become a "follower" of the blog a few things happen: first of all, anyone who reads your blog or who checks out your profile will know that you follow this blog and maybe they will follow too.  Second, people reading the blog might be curious who else is reading it or who the other "followers" are.  Third, as we continue to move forward in our relationship, some followers may decide to comment on a posting and other followers may reply, and maybe we will all get to know each other.  Finally, from what I hear, it is good for me to have "followers" because it means you are all reading on a regular basis.  Please - follow me.

Q: How can I comment on your blog?
A: At the end of each posting there is an opportunity to post your comments.  You can type your comments into the box and click post.  I am very interested in what you have to say.  Please comment.

Q: I have an important job and know lots of important people.  I want to follow you but I don't want anyone to know who I am.  Help?
A: This is a very common problem.  Many of us are super-important.  Thankfully, blogspot is one step ahead of us and has two possible solutions: You can follow me anonymously.  Or use a fake name.  I promise I won't tell anyone.

Q: You are funny.  How do I share your posting with my facebook friends?
A:  At the bottom of each post there are little squares.  If you look closely, there are different icons.  One is for facebook.  If you click on it, you will be able to post a link to this blog on your facebook page.  You can add a message, like "check this out - LOL".

Q:  Is it the same think for Twitter or LinkedIN?
A:  Yes, they each have icons at the bottom of the posting too.  Although I'm thinking that if you have a Twitter account you are probably not reading these FAQs.  Unless you are currently in a battle with the City.  You know who you are.

Q: I'm confused.  How does this relate to knitting?
A: I am now laughing at my own joke.  I will let you in on it: For years, I have been using FAQs to communicate with my knitting buddies.  So, this time I used FAQs but not for knitting.  I'm thinking the knitters reading this will be confused.  Get it? Because it's FAQs but not knitting FAQs? Funny, huh?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

I Practically Went to a Spinning Class

My friend S. called me today for advice about her gym.  You may be wondering -- as I was-- why in a million years any one would call me, of all people, to ask a question even tangentially related to any physical activity of any sort.

Stay with me, it'll make sense in a second.

She is leaving her gym after almost 20 years, and moving to a new gym closer to her house, her kids' school, her grocery store, her bank, and probably even her pediatrician, her tailor and her dog groomer's.  

But when she called the gym to tell them she was leaving, they said that she had to give 30 days notice AND that the notice had to be given on the first of the month.  So that would mean that today's notice was only valid as of April 1st, and that she would therefore have to pay them for the entire month of April.  And she is supposed to start the new gym as of April 1st.  She doesn't want to get stuck paying for both gyms in the same month.  Even for someone as physically fit as S., that would be a bit much.

So this is the plan I gave her:

1.  Call the gym and ask for a copy of the contract she signed when she originally joined.

2.  Check if the contract says anything about 30 days and first of the month.

3.  If it does, and she signed it, then she doesn't have much of a choice other than to honor her commitment to this gym, and ask the new gym if she can delay her membership by a month.  Even in this scenario, I would send a formal letter to the gym notifying them of the membership cancellation and the last date of payment.

4.  If the contract doesn't say anything about the 30 days or the first of the month, then send them a formal letter terminating her membership at the gym effective immediately.

5.  If it says 30 days notice but not first of the month, then assume that she can give formal notice today, and assume that last day of payment is 30 days from now (pro-rating the days in April).

6.  Do not call them to discuss this.  All discussion should be in writing, with a confirmation of receipt either by sending a fax, email or registered letter.  Come to think of it, I don't think I mentioned this point - S., I hope you are reading this...

7.  Notify her credit card when the last payment is going through.  If the gym tries to charge her credit card after she has terminated her contract, she can dispute the charge and send a copy of her correspondence to the credit card company as proof.

8.  Keep copies of all letters and the contract with both gyms.  She may need them later.

So with my complaint department skills, I helped S. figure out how to handle her potentially overlapping gym memberships.

Do you think this counts as a workout?

Sunday, 13 March 2011

High Class Complaints

"My masseuse is always seven minutes late.  Doesn't she realize my reflexologist will be here any minute?"; or "Now that John Galliano's out of the picture, I'm totally screwed.  Who the hell is going to dress me for Kate's wedding?"

These are high class complaints.

But my cousin M uses the expression high class complaints to describe any complaint that is a nice problem to have.  Complaints that we know we really shouldn't be making because just by virtue of the fact that we have the luxury of making them - they aren't real complaints.

Like if your shellac manicure is supposed to last two weeks, and one of the nails pops off, just as you are leaving to a luxury villa in the West Indies.  You are lucky to have shellac, lucky to be on vacation, lucky to be in the West Indies, who cares if you are one nail polish short of a full manicure? On the other hand, it is a legitimate complaint.  The nails are supposed to have a two week guarantee, and if the nail comes off before the two weeks are up - especially if you are on your way to the airport and can't have them fixed - it can be very annoying.

Not that I would ever complain about anything like that.

How about you? Any High Class complaints to share?

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Tweet, Tweet, Roar?

I'm driving the kids to school this morning.  They are all excited about the blog.  They want to help.

"Here's how you can help", I tell them.  "Let's brainstorm ideas of people I can interview for the blog.  People who will tell us about complaints."  I am thinking they will suggest friends we know who own a store.  Or the waitress at our favorite diner.

No such luck.

"I have an idea", says T (almost six).  "You can interview a bird."

"A bird?" I say, briefly trying out the modern parenting philosophy that there is no such thing as a stupid answer, "and what would the bird's complaints be?"

She thinks about it.  "The bird might have trouble finding worms.  Or it's nest might be broken. Maybe someone took the baby bird away."

"These are all good complaints", I lie.  "But let's think of something more realistic.  Someone REAL, that we can actually INTERVIEW, who will TRULY tell us how they deal with complaints."

Thoughtful silence.

"I got it Mom", says G (nine).  "We can interview a tiger.  They are an endangered species."


I think it's time to put away the Dr. Doolittle DVDs.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

My Cashier's Uterus (or lack thereof)

Today I went to the drugstore to buy some - well, there's no easy way to say this - tampons.  I get to the cash, and the cashier is saying to the woman in front of me "What a tough morning I'm having! The customers have been in the worst moods! I actually had a customer tell me to STOP TALKING this morning."  Wow, I thought to myself.  Some people are so hostile.  Probably the best part of being a cashier is making small talk with your customers.   Lighten up, I thought.

Oh - how innocent I was.

Now it's my turn at the cash.  I hoist the three boxes of industrial strength feminine hygiene products onto the counter.  She scans them.  $8.42.  Looks at me.  "These are $8.42."  I smile.  "That's very expensive" she adds. I smile.  My eyes are flitting toward to door.

Then she says "I had a hysterectomy a few years ago.  So I don't need to worry bout any of that stuff anymore." Smile still plastered to my face.  "Tumors.  Everywhere."  Turns out she's not done yet: "And the bleeding. Oh, the bleeding."

"I'm sorry to hear that" I say, grabbing my (I forgot to bring an ecologically friendly bag) plastic bag and plotting my escape route.

"That's OK." she said to me.  "I walk in riddled with cancer, and when I left I was cancer free. But my recovery - "

Thankfully we were spared the details of the recuperation by the next customer in line.

And to think - I was worried that I'd have nothing to blog about.