Archive for July, 2008

around 3am this morning i was trying to get to sleep and i keep hearing these muffled yelps coming from somewhere. i thought it was cats that sometimes fight outside but i kept hearing it. after a few more it started sounding like “help”. there’s an old lady who lives in the unit underneath mine and im like, ugh, im sleepy. but i dont want this lady to die below me. so i go lie down on the floor and put my ear to the ground for a few minutes so i could make sure.

and sure enough, another “HAAALP!” comes from underneath, so i start yelling into the carpet. im like, “hello?”


“are you ok? do you need help?”

“im on the floor!”

“do you want me to call an ambulance?”

“i cant understand you!”

so im like, ok fine, it’s on now. i get up and go outside and walk downstairs and try to talk to her thru the window. she’s like way past 80 years old and her son who lives with her usually leaves for work around 1:30am, so i know she’s all alone. some neighbors are woken up by the commotion and we kinda talk thru the window. we cant see cuz of the blinds but in general it seems like she’s not deathly hurt, just not totally coherent and in need of some assistance.

“are you ok?”

*no answer*

*knock on window* “hello?”

“come on in!”

“i can’t, your door is locked. do you have someone we can call?”

*no answer*

“are you hurt? do you need help?”

“the light is on!”

so i’m like, fine. i call 911 and tell them whats up and call my apt manager (who never answers, this is no exception) and leave a message in case he can come by with a key.

911 sends police, ambulance and fire truck and the police dude takes it from there. he talks to the lady a little and then he takes the screen off the window to climb in. the window is a good 5 feet off the ground with an opening that’s pretty small. the police dude is like 6’3″ 250 so me and the neighbors are amused watching him try to squirm in.

apparently the lady fell trying to get to the bathroom and couldnt get up. the paramedics did their thing and decided to take her to the hospital as a precaution. i watched them wheel her into the back of the ambulance from my steps and i waved and she waved back and went “bye!” in her shrill old lady voice. it was kinda sweet. now i get to try to go back to sleep at 4:30am, secure in the knowledge that there will be no incapacitated old ladies trapped underneath my bedroom tonite. not on my watch.

I did it. It is done. After 4+ years of servitude, on July 11, 2008, I replaced my old cell phone for an iPhone 3G .

Back in the early 2000s I was still a bit of a cell phone snob. I didn’t believe people actually needed cell phones. People who used cell phones were just bad planners, I thought. I was a good planner. I was still waiting for the perfect device, one with voice, camera, mp3 playback, internet, memory for media and a color screen so I wouldn’t have to carry all those devices separately. The Handspring Visor Prism came close, but it was too clunky and so big it almost bordered on sidetalking.

The Toshiba VM4050 was one of the best phones out there in early 2004. It had a sturdy build, a decent camera, a colorful, high-quality screen, access to the web, and a clean and customizable interface. I got mine and I convinced several friends to get the same. Over the years I took over 3500 pictures with the onboard camera (50% up girl’s skirts), used the phone all over the country (including Hawaii and Puerto Rico), tethered it to my laptop on trips for desperate mobile internets and twirled, threw and abused it like dog’s favorite bone.

All the years and abuse were not kind. The charging port stopped working over a year ago. I took it to a Sprint store and they declared it unrepairable. I wasn’t ready to give up on it though. Having so many friends with the same phone paid off, as one accidentally broke the hinge and had to get a new phone. So he gave me his broken shell of a phone and I used it to charge the battery for my phone, swapping the batteries in and out every couple nights. When I went on trips, I would take both phones with me because I needed one to charge the other. It was ridiculous(ly cool).

Other things went wrong, I got water on the phone and the ringer volume buttons stopped working. That made for an embarrassing moment in a quiet theatre at Sundance. Specks of plastic were coming off the inside of the camera lens housing, depositing big black splotches in my pictures. And yet the phone soldiered on. I willed it to continue living. I was in control of the DNR papers and I said suscitate.

iphone 3gBut now it’s finally time to say goodbye. It was strange, even after buying the iPhone, I was still preferring to use the old phone (I have a bit of overlapping carrier contract). But that balance has pretty much shifted 180 now. The iPhone still isn’t the perfect convergence device I’ve been waiting for, but it’s getting there. I’ll post my impressions of the iPhone 3G on here soon. In the meantime, it’s about time to pull the plug on the trusty VM4050. Or rather, since the charge plug doesn’t work, stop swapping those stupid batteries.