Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Glory of Techmology

Werk recently upgraded to the latest Microsoft Outlook, which includes a voice-to-text for voice mail.

Let's back up: if someone leaves a message on my office phone, I get an email with the caller ID and a play button that I can either send to my phone or listen to via a media player on my computer.

PLUS... when I got a company-sponsored cell phone,§ they hooked my Outlook to it, so I get a copy on my cell phone of the email that contains a copy of my work voice mail when someone leaves a message on my work phone.#

Hans and I were toddling off to lunch yesterday, when my phone tick-tocked†† to tell me I had a message. When I checked it, I recognised it as a voice mail notification,‡‡ but it also had the following text§§:

Let's back up again: Brother wants to be black. At times, Brother has thought he was black. He's pretty hip to the hip hop culture, so I read the text and thought it was an actual text or an email maybe. At first, I said to myself, "Self, Brother is having problems with his autocorrect." Then I decided he was rapping some hep slang that I simply wasn't down with.¶¶

Two or three minutes of examining context and I realised it was voice-to-text## and it was kinda screwed up.

By that time, I really wanted to know what "brooklyn truck" was going to be.

Here's the actual voice recording:

And here's a transcript:

"Yo, it's your brother. I'm probably going to give you... drop you an email too, but I just thought I would check maybe if you could, um, drop by here on your way home today real quick so I can slip you a key, go over, y'know, what to do with the cat and stuff.††† Awesome. Alright, thanks. Bye."

"Brooklyn truck" is now acceptable Untiedt sibling slang for "real quick."‡‡‡

FOOTNOTE (crossed): And I use the term loosely.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Desk phone, that is.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Which isn't quite the treat it sounded like at the outset. I can't call the carrier for help, I can't add international texting - even if I pay for it myself - because if IT has to support too many odd requests they'll explode, and I don't have a mouseball on my phone and I hate that. As I whine about this, I'm wondering if I need to spend some time in a Third World country to gain perspective.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): ...can be in close, personal contact with work 24 hours a day...

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Screw the Hokey-Pokey, *that's* what it's all about.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): Because that's the noise I chose to represent notifications.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): It had a picture of a phone.

§§FOOTNOTE (jump back turn around): Which was the first time I'd seen text on an email with a picture of a phone on it.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (throwin' up gang signs yo yo): Word to your mother like it's hot. And a bag of chips.

##FOOTNOTE (in for a penny or two): When I said the Outlook upgrade was recent, I apparently meant, like, yesterday.

†††FOOTNOTE (I'm just so terribly cross): Brother and his girlthing are going to Costa Rica for a week. B-cat (Beatrice, Brother's cat) is a travelling man's cat and has always been perfectly capable of entertaining herself for days on end. Brother is blaming it on the girlthing - he says ever since Cindy moved in, B-cat thinks she needs attention all the time. Hence the need for a catsitter.

‡‡‡FOOTNOTE (we're on the right track): I feel confident I can speak for Brother too when I say, "Don't feel you need to be an Untiedt sibling to use this wonderful new slang phrase. Spread the world! Share with your friends!"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

p.s. -

Happy St Patrick's Day.

It's 39° and Raining in Prague

Yesterday at noon, Hans whisked his girlfriend Angie away from work for a surprise trip.

Yesterday at 6:30, they took off for Prague.

BFD, you may think, particularly if you've gleaned any sense of Hans's travel habits over the last few years.

This time, thought, he's taking his girlfriend on a trip and bringing home a fiancée.

He spent the last month planning, agonising over diamonds and settings, wondering how much his bonus would actually be, asking advice. He found an American photographer in Prague§ and hired him to take pictures of the proposal on the Charles Bridge.

At 4:30 yesterday, my boss and one of the other leads asked me if I'd heard from Hans.#

"No. I don't really expect to..." I trailed off as I saw the consternation mixed with disbelief in their eyes.

"I'll text him right now."

And we sat around, Craig Ferguson-style awkward pause in the air.

"Well..." I said, jingling my keys to indicate I really was on my way out the door.

"You'll tell us tomorrow morning."

About 6:15, Hans texted:

"She was shocked, it was awesome."

Keep in mind, that was just because he picked her up to go to the airport.

When I got in this morning, Avis% asked, "Did you hear from Hans?"

"He says she was shocked and it was awesome."

"Where are they now? What time is it in Prague? Has he asked her yet?"

I Googled to find out it was 5:45 in Prague.

"Right about now. He should be asking her any second now."

"Oh, I hope the weather is nice. Did you see what the weather was?"

"Just the time. Here, let me Google... it's raining. It's 39 degrees and it's raining."

"Oh, no! I hope it doesn't ruin their pictures!"

"Well, overcast skies are better for photography anyway..."††

From around the corner, Carla@ chimed in from her desk, "Look at you, looking on the bright side!"

People keep dropping in to find out what we know, speculate on what happened, wonder if Hans has Internet access so he can send us pictures RIGHT NOW.

Gail‡‡ came down a few minutes ago and we were chatting about it.

"I can't believe how excited I am about something that really has nothing to do with me," I said.

"I know!"

"It's like reality TV or something."§§

"It's like we're living in reality."

We both contemplated the sobering idea for a moment, then went on to daydream about wonderful, romantic, surprise proposals in exotic foreign lands.

Hey, maybe I can be Hans's best man...¶¶

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Like how he went to Thailand when we were in crunch time for the Legacy sale... or how he went to Cancun when we were in crunch time for the Albrecht sale... or how he went to Austin when we were in crunch time for the Sequel sale... not that I'm bitter.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Yep! He's trading Angie in on a new model! Haha! Just kidding!

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Google.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): When he was about 20, he was stumbling around Prague in a drunken stupour with some of his college buddies - absinthe may have been involved - and he says that even in his drunken, juvenile state, he stopped on the St. Charles bridge and decided it was the most romantic place in the world and he wanted to come back to it when he wanted to propose to someone. I can hear you "Awwwwwww" from here.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): This is a distinctly female trait. I'm, like, 70% guy, having been trained through many of my formative years by some of the guyest of the guys. It always takes me a little aback when someone asks something like, "Has Hans, who is not your boyfriend, relative or parole officer, taken time out of his very personal journey to one of the most important moments of his life to give you minute-by-minute updates, much like the newscrawl on CNN?"

%FOOTNOTE (percented): Avis is my boss, head of the Lease Records part of the Land Administration department, which consists of two branches - Lease Records and Division Orders - and is overseen by Sandy. You're welcome.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): I learned this in a real photography class. I wasn't just shooting platitudes to the masses to make the masses feel better.

@FOOTNOTE (atted): Carla is the another Lead in Lease Records and oversees the Gulf/Shreveport (basically Texas and Louisiana) region. I oversee the Rockies (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah... but mostly North Dakota). Again, you're welcome.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Who fielded the girly questions from Hans (who knows I'm 70% guy and maybe not the best person to ask for how Ange would feel about something). She says he'd come in and say, "If you were packing for a surprise trip, how much time would you need?" "Hans," she'd say, "why don't you just ask the question you want to ask: how much time will Angie need to pack? I'm not packing. I'm not going anywhere. Two hours, but you better be packed and on call to pick up pantyhose or mascara or whatever last-minute thing she thinks she needs."

§§FOOTNOTE (my girly little head is just all a-swirl!): I've heard it's like that on reality TiVi. *ahem*

¶¶FOOTNOTE (reality knocks twice): *ZING!* That was the sound of reality going right out the window.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's 5:00... you know where your Hans is?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Watch This Space

Top secret Hans story to be released tomorrow or Thursday...


Wednesday, March 9, 2011


It rarely happens. Revel in it.

Anyway... yesterday I was looking on the blog for references to Head Knitta in Charge and I came across some very early posts that talked about how I'd never blocked anything. And others where I was really excited to figure out colourwork. And others where I did my first lace knitting.

Those were the days of my yarny youth.

It was like looking at old yearbooks with that "what the hell was up with my hair" vibe.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Scarf

Last year, when Edison Elementary held its second annual EdFest Silent Auction fundraiser, I went. I bought. I volunteered to donate a knitted item this year.

Last Monday, Brother contacted me and said, "I know it's short notice, but Saturday is EdFest."

There's a lot of disorganisation and misorganisation and drunkenness§ in the spaces between, but keeping a long story short, I volunteered to give a gift certificate for a scarf.


For those of you who don't read mangledese, it says "One pick-your-own-adventure scarf: I'll sit down with the winner over a cup of coffee, a beer or a glass of wine (my treat) and we'll design a scarf for you. Pick your fiber, texture and colour and I'll make it all come true."

Lisa, the appropriate committee member, asked if I had pictures or samples to go with the bid sheet. I sent some pics off Ravelry, but, of course, I don't keep anything I knit.

This whole exchange took place Thursday afternoon.

Thursday night, I had one of my frighteningly brilliant ideas:# find the school mascot and colours and knit a scarf for a toy version of the mascot in those colours. Y'know... just to have something tangible on the table.

Don't think I wasn't hoping they were the Edison R2D2s.††

Turns out they're the Edison Eagles, and their colours are blue and gold-yellow, much like my beloved Denver Nuggets.‡‡

I woke up early Friday knowing I had to find an eagle.§§ Fortunately, as an inveterate shopper with two nephews, I had a good idea of where to find a stuffed eagle.

Bless you, Kazoo & Company.

I ran to a couple of yarn stores.¶¶

At 2:00, I was home, done with lunch and casting on.

Perhaps the next time I'm on a tight deadline, I'll remember that it's not the best time to try a new technique.

At 1:00 Saturday morning, I gave up my double-knitting project. It wasn't horrible. It was just in dire need of blocking,## and I knew there was no way I'd finish the scarf, soak it and have it completely dry before I had to take it to Lisa on Saturday afternoon.

So... I got up at 7:00 Saturday morning and started knitting a new - simpler - scarf for the eagle.


When we got to the fundraiser at 7:00, there was a bid down on the scarf, which tickled the grits out of me, as I wasn't sure how it would represent in a bidding situation. Brother noted that he was up-bidding it because he decided he needed a scarf.†††

In the end, it turned out someone outbid Brother, so I'm feeling all HKIC and shit.%

When the Auction Committee sobers up and tells me who won the scarf, I'll let y'all know. Sounds like it could be fun.‡‡‡

Plus, I'd already told Brother he had the hook-up even if he didn't win the auction scarf.§§§

So, sing it with me: "STILL A KNITBLOG."

FOOTNOTE (crossed): "EdFest" in my world has a whole lot more Tom Cavanaugh in it, but that's OK.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Paraphrasing. Brother was more cognizant than that.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Oddly enough, not on my part. The mis-, the dis- OR the drunk.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): As my college boyfriend always said, "Too late."

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): I'm not tooting my own horn. It's not that I have ideas so brilliant as to be frightening. No, it's that the ideas that seem so brilliant pan out to be ironically, sarcastically so and it's frightening I continue to believe in my own brilliance.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): Think of it... one tiny Star Wars action figure with a couple of tufts of blue and gold yarn...

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Which led to a funny moment at Fancy Tiger when a very sweet (possibly gay, probably artistic, undoubtedly oblivious to sports) boy asked if he could help and I told him I was looking for fingering- or sport-weight yarn in blue and gold, like Denver Nuggets colours. I could almost hear the panic shutting down his organs. He pointed out every skein of yarn in the right gauge, I suspect hoping I'd make up my own mind about what "Denver Nuggets colours" meant.

§§FOOTNOTE (double confusing): There is nothing quite like waking up on your day off knowing you have to find an eagle.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (double the fun): I found my yarn at the first store, but as my brother says, I have a problem. Plus, I have a very weird upcoming knitting project (foreshadowing!) I wanted to get a jump on. In a very researchy, I-probably-didn't-need-to-buy-six-sets-of-square-needles way.

##FOOTNOTE (double the pounds): AntiM's helpful knitting tip #237: Double-knitting pulls the knitted piece in (much like cabling does) and makes your very straight scarf look like an hourglass.

†††FOOTNOTE (is it Lent again already?): Because His Girl Cindy told him he should get a scarf to go with his new Hugo Boss cashmere jacket and he made grumpy faces and stuff. Then he went to NYC and saw that everybody was wearing a scarf and decided it wasn't a bad idea.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): Head Knitta in Charge, in case you forgot.

‡‡‡FOOTNOTE (Frankenstein's blogster): Or a complete nightmare. But I'm an optimist. Or, as Cornel West said on Twitter, "But I'm not an optimist, that's too thin...I'm a prisoner of ."

§§§FOOTNOTE (three esses make a full circle, right?): When we discussed particulars, it boiled down to "a tweedy/heathered charcoal in a muffler length." Then I got an update from Colourmart (home of all things cashmere) Sunday mid-day that said they had a shipment of Hugo Boss cashmere just in. So even though Brother didn't win the scarf, Brother absolutely won a scarf. Here's the yarn; its colour is called "Derby":