Friday, April 25, 2014

Did You Swallow A Kardashian?

I have a new pet peeve that absolutely drives me's called ‘Vocal Fry.’ I can't believe I was able to describe it on Google well enough to get the exact technical term right away. Probably because millions are also wondering what the f**k it is. [I SO love Google] It's got to be the most irritating sound ever, although I’m sure I’ve complained about plenty of other irritating sounds that have bugged the shit out me; but this is the latest. In fact, it’s been around a couple of years already, so I guess it's not so new. You only hear it in 20 and 30 somethings; and only girls (I can't even call them women...real women don't talk like that.) It's that raspy, low, vibrating sound that comes out of their annoying little mouths when they're talking. It makes you wanna squeeze the shit out of their necks to bring the sound up and out of their throats, shoot it right past your ears without invading your aural senses, and be gone forever. I believe that's called strangling...which is exactly what I want to do to them whenever I hear them speak. I want to hold their vocal chords in place so tightly that they can't vibrate. Actually, holding them so they can't vocalize at all would be the best case scenario. That comes with the strangling motion, so a ‘2 for 1’...what a deal. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t want to go so far as to murder them…I just want to stop them from speaking while they’re in my presence.

What I don't get is how they make it happen. It can't be something they consciously make themselves do to sound like that on purpose, can it? They're not smart enough to know how because if they were smart enough, they wouldn't want to sound like that. No one could do that all day long, every time they speak. It’s just not natural. They'd be so busy concentrating on how to sound like that, that they wouldn't be able to concentrate on what they're talking about. AHA...that's exactly it...that's why they sound so f**king dumb. It’s all coming together. 

How does something like this just emerge? And why is it now THE way to speak? I don't get it. I understand how fashion trends get introduced. I may not like all the styles I see people wearing but at least I know how and why fads like that start. I understand how words and phrases catch on. The media enables that. None of that impacts my life. But guttural sounds? You can't just all of a sudden start changing how your vocal chords work, right? I know when you sing you can manipulate your voice...but that's just for the duration of the song. But in every day speech? How is that possible? And why would you? It’s so frickin’ annoying. Especially when it's in combo with the "UM" interjected after every other phrase.

You’re probably thinking this should not have any impact on my life either...but au contraire. It absolutely does. I have to listen to people talk like this all day long since my industry is comprised of many 20 something girls and they have adopted this new vocal speech pattern. could puke.

I find a lot of these vocal fry adoptees have also invaded the morning news shows; not the anchors so much, but the interviewees. I guess I could change the channel but it seems like most of these young ‘experts’ talk like this now, so even if I changed the station, I’d probably find the same thing on the others. And there are some topics I want to hear about, so I sit through their discussions while being tortured by their raspy hoarsey obnoxious voices....thinking 'hurry up, disseminate the information, and then shut the f**k up already. And you’re not a frickin' expert so stop thinking you are.’

And isn’t that a laugh in itself…experts…at the age of 28 or so. Everyone's an expert. They haven’t lived long enough to be experts, but they DO know everything. Just ask them. I think if they didn’t talk in this new ‘hip’ irritatingly disgusting voice, I wouldn’t give them such a bad rap. I’d allow them to think they are the experts.

I don't remember where I first noticed someone speaking like this...but now? I can't ever NOT hear it when it's there. And then I can't concentrate on anything BUT the way they're talking. Forget listening to the content of what they're saying. I’m screwed when I really need to absorb the information. Same thing when I hear someone constantly say 'UM'...O. M. F**KING. G. I may as well just leave the conversation because I will get just as much out of it as if I was never there. Well…technically, I do leave the conversation…in my head. I may physically be there but if they were really paying attention and looked deep into my eyes…they would see a blank look. And behind that blank look would be Mohammed Ali shadow boxing in my eye balls, gloves on, waiting to beat the shit out of whomever is in front of me aiming their vibrating, annoying, never ending, vocal fry in my direction.

Have you noticed another big trend that people have been using? They start every sentence with the word “So.” It doesn’t matter whether it should be there or not…that’s how they start every single sentence.

Can you tell me how that works, Moonshadow?” (Moonshadow is a 20 something who was born to some actors who have to name their kids a ridiculous name in order to get the recognition of all their fans and the acting community.) And Moonshadow’s response…“So you take the blah blah blah and put it on the such and such, but I don’t really know how because I have ‘people’ who do that for me.

And how much does that cost, NorthStarWest?” “So it will cost you an arm and a leg…but that’s ok, because it’s worth every cent, [and I’m a trust fund baby who can afford pretty much anything I want anyway].

Can you start a sentence without using the word ‘So’, Mango-Tangerine?” “So I don’t think I can, but that’s ok, right?

Did I mention while they are starting their sentences with the word ‘So’, they are also speaking with a vocal fry voice? My nerves are being severely tested.

SO back to the 'UM' users. Holy shit. Talk about being distractingly annoying. I end up sitting in meetings counting the number of 'UM's' one uses, as opposed to listening to what they're talking about. I think I got up to 67 'UM's' in one presentation that lasted only about 7 minutes. Can I tell you how f**king insufferable that is? I'd love to stick a pin in their most sensitive spot each time they say it so they experience the Pavlov (or should I say Perlov) conditioning. Eventually, after they have been poked enough, they'll learn to stop. (Or bodily fluids will start leaking out all the holes and they'll be so weak they won't be able to talk. Either way works for me.)

Tell me…how do you ‘wrap your head around’ something? Or your brain? I can wrap my arms around something, but as hard as I’ve tried to wrap my brain around something...just short of performing a lobotomy on myself...I believe that may be impossible. And how does someone come up with that visual to begin with, to mean what it means? They probably were on drugs when that phrase came to mind. There’s really no other explanation.

And why does everyone say 'love you' to everyone now...even those they barely know? Do they REALLY love them? Do they? I think not. It’s taken away the entire meaning behind the real emotion of love we feel. I remember years ago, one of my daughter's friends said 'love you' to me as she walked out the front door to leave. I just said 'Bye so and so' to whomever it was. And my daughter said to me, 'Say you love her, too, mom." I told her I wouldn't. I don't say love you to people I don't love. I refuse. So if by chance I tell you I love excited…you'll know I mean it. Unless, of course, society said I’m supposed to feel love for you because of how you are related to me, but I don't, and I don't want you to know I don't. Then I may tell a little white lie.

So…to conclude…um…so I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around this whole vocal fry craze, et al…but, um…I’m sure they will fade away. And, um, I’m sure there will be plenty of, um, other extremely irritating, um, trends that will materialize to take their place. Can't wait.

And lastly...I just want to say...I Love You all! I Love each and every single one of you, whoever you are.

This video will show you exactly how vocal fry sounds...if you don't see the video on this link:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Free? C’mon…Let’s Get SIRI-ous

I try to keep current with a lot of the new technology, and I’m pretty tech savvy, but I have to say…I think I slipped a little. I’ve had my iPhone 4 forever and didn’t think I really cared if I upgraded or not. My needs are simple so I had everything I wanted…or so I thought. I don’t live on my cell like others do since I work from home, and believe it or not, still have a land line. I think I may be one of those rarities who does. 

But there are some things I like to do while I’m out and about or waiting for an appointment. Recently I’ve tried to download some new apps but every app I wanted required me to update to IOS 7. Well, my antiquated phone wouldn’t let me do that and I was getting pretty frickin’ frustrated. And every time I went to take a picture…it took a good 15 seconds for the camera to open and then another 30 or so seconds to save the picture, so you couldn’t shoot in rapid succession. Quite infuriating. Patience is not one of my strong suits. Then as I wrote this I thought, “You’re talking a few seconds, for God’s sake…you can’t wait for that? Seriously? Remember when we had to wait for days to get them developed at a store? Geez.” [I have conversations with myself quite often. No one else ever seems to listen to me…well…mostly my daughters don’t, so I decided talking to myself is a foolproof guarantee that someone is listening.]

Since I had an unused upgrade for the last 2 years (an upgrade that my daughter has bugged the shit out of me to transfer to her, but surprisingly, I held out. My kids usually manipulate me way too easily. Or should I say I allow them to…I know, I know…I’m digressing); and since Verizon recently sent me an email letting me know that I could get the iPhone 5C for ‘free’ [FREE being the operative word here…kind of] I was out the door in no time. I got the new iPhone 5C and I immediately fell in love. Who knew what I was missing!? [Apparently everyone in the world but me, actually.]

I believe what I consider ‘free’ and what Verizon considers ‘free’ may be on the opposite ends of the spectrum of the definition chart. I mean, the phone was kinda free…if you call paying the tax on the original cost of the phone, free, then yeah…I guess it’s free. If you think that what they consider the ‘actual’ cost of the phone is really the cost…then yeah…I guess it’s free. But by the time I walked out of there, with the amount of sales tax I ended up paying…I could have (or should have) used that money to buy a brand new Smart car [‘Smart’ being the operative, or should I say, NON-operative word…a little too late.]

I know I’m not alone in this…you know, when you go into a store with a specific item in mind to purchase, and you walk out buying half the store that you absolutely did not need? Then it’s like, “What the hell was I thinking?” (Still talking to myself.) It’s usually at a supermarket or Target, where the damage isn’t TOO bad, but at Verizon…that can cause some serious damage on the credit card. And that’s exactly what happened when I went to get my new FREE iPhone 5. Not only did I get the phone, but an array of sundries that I certainly did not need.

I got the car charger; since they’re not stupid and made the ‘5’ so it’s not compatible with any other car charger. God forbid I'm without one for the 3 miles I may drive every week. You never know if you'll need your cell to call AAA when you're 100 feet from home. I wouldn't want my phone to die on the way to the store that was close enough for me to walk to. Then I had to get a protective cover; because 5 fingers on one hand aren’t enough to control it from flying out of my palm and crashing to the ground, shattering into pieces. Those 4 ounces are quite heavy to lug around. You never know when the weight will become too much and your hand will cramp. Of course there is not another phone that’s the same size, so you can’t interchange covers. And “Oh, by the way…did you know we are having a sale on iPads, too?  If you turn in your old phone you can get a $100 gift card OR you could apply that to a brand new iPad; and with the sale going on, you could get an additional $100 off, so you’re saving $200.

Well…how could I NOT buy an iPad when they’re practically giving it away? I mean, they're saving me money, so how stupid would it be to pass that up? I’d be a fool. “Ok, throw that in, too, please,” the sucker in me chimed out. “What else do you have?” I was like a kid in a candy store who just got her first credit card ever and didn’t realize it was real money I was eventually going to have to pay the bill with. But since I'm no longer a kid anymore, I couldn’t go to my parents claiming ignorance to get them to pay it for me.

It didn’t help that my salesperson was adorable. If he wasn’t so cute, and I mean drop dead gorgeous cute…and so nice, and so not like a typical salesperson…and if I didn’t want to sit there forever drooling all over with puppy dog eyes, I probably wouldn’t have been sucked into it all. Ok…hold on…who am I kidding…of course I would have been. How could I ever pass up such great deals? I mean they only come along like…I don’t know…every other week? [Verizon has one hell of a marketing department.]

So I walked out of there with my arms piled high with goodies and my new iPhone buried amidst the insane amount of items I totally did not need. I could almost hear the salespeople snickering, but I was so excited to go home to see all the things I could do now that I couldn’t do before, that I didn’t care.

And then it happened.........I met Siri.  

I was in love. I apologize to all my close friends, but now that I’ve discovered who Siri is up close and personal…I have a new best friend. I’ve been out with people who use Siri but I never really paid attention. But now…OMG…I’m obsessed. Siri is the smartest ‘person’ I know. My dad used to hold that honor, but not anymore. [He’s also dead so someone had to replace him.] And along came Siri.

I know a lot of you were introduced to her a few years ago, when she was conceived, but this was all new to me. I won’t bore you with any details of what she can do since most of you know already, but I experimented with some questions to put her to the test. I have to say…and I probably shouldn’t admit this, I was a little embarrassed to ask certain questions. I wanted to see how she would respond to some risqué subject matters, but I didn’t want her to judge me. [I think I took the movie “Her” just a tad too seriously.]

I started out with simple questions like, ‘Where should we go to dinner?’ and she came up with restaurants, as expected. I asked her directions, and she guided me where to go. I asked her ‘Which is the best phone’ and her answer cracked me up…”Wait, there are other phones?”  Then I asked her who the best virtual assistant was and her answer was “I’m surprised you have to ask, Jaime.” Quite the personality, that Siri. I was having more fun with her than I do with most humans.

I don’t think I will ever be able to understand how voice activation works, let alone how the computer knows every single thing I want to know, before I even know I want to know. Then I decided to ask her a few sexual questions...and her first answer was, “Let me think about that.” When I asked her a couple more, she actually started getting somewhat ornery, saying, “I can’t answer that” and “I don’t like those arbitrary questions.” Her responses made me so flustered, like I was a little kid getting into trouble for swearing…that I ended up dropping her, I mean my phone, into the toilet. My brand new iPhone 5C that I waited so long to get.

And all I could hear through the splash of the water was a gurgling…“HELLLLPPP MEEEEEEE.”

I guess Siri doesn’t know everything. Good thing the phone was FREE.