Google Voice Poetry

I started using Google Voice months back on my G1 android phone to transcribe my voice mails. When you leave me a message, I get an email containing the text version of that message. While I can still listen to the voice mail, most of the time the email is enough to give me the gist of what the call is about. Often if provides hilarious results as Google has a much harder time with some voices over others. I call it Google Voice Poetry. My Nana's messages provide the best results. Sorry Nana... these emails were to priceless not to share! In this voicemail, she is thanking us for the peanut butter we sent as a birthday present to my grandfather.

Peanut butter lovers shows that you have a diabetic

Hi, silverware, have you been a big we've been trying to call you.Yeah, Susan that boggled got his presence and expected today and I put it, and I live a falling out of his mouth because of the recipient.Peanut butter lovers shows that you have a diabetic.That's 98.Wanted to talk to her.We're going to do.It was great stories birthday tonight baby socks taking a shower but I'd like to hear more.You know about what's going on, so if you're outside.Dan or something, call me okay.Have you bought.Thank you Susan,You are great.God bless. Bye bye. Plus.

Note: "Peanut butter lovers shows that you have a diabetic" is "We're peanut butter lovers you two shouldn't have done it."

This is from my father asking about the snow storm in Baltimore. I had put some pictures up online. Google does a better job transcribing his text.

Capitalist want to know covered in snow

Still Smell in. 11:30 on Sunday. I saw the pictures. Capitalist want to know covered in snow. I checked with put furniture out in the street so you can park your car. Maybe you don't do that in your neighborhood. Call me. Love you.

And another one from my Nana. She leaves the best Google Voice Poetry.

I waved a way to go to bed

Hey Christopher Stork. I got your message tonight but I called you this is my start diet and I just want to know what's going on. Have more about it. And I also called her this afternoon because we got those two thousand years. If it for Paul upon you need to ask you about that anyway. Anyways, so I was wondering whether you have gotten my message and I call you last night i call you this morning colleagues. Hey, Ronald, I waved a way to go to bed, and I'm calling with tonight. I'd like to know what's going on with the baby in everything out okay. I'll be home. Martinez 11:30. Call me anytime you and suicides. Well port. Thank you very much for the presence and we love you and I hope everything is going on fun with the maybe if i bye.

Crew Scheduling asking me about a burger?

The samples in Chris Killing

Hey, Good. The samples of Chris killings. I'll have a question for you enjoyed your trip for tomorrow. If you have a chance. Gimme a call back. Have a quick questions, I wonder if you can show a burger. If you can give me a call back. Thanks.

As you can read, the results are not perfect but for the first time in alone while, I enjoy getting voicemails! My recorded message used to say, "Don't leave a message, send me a text." I want to change it to, "Leave as long and detailed of a message as you want... and maybe do it with a mouthful of food!"

My short career as Chris Winston - Overnight Disk Jockey

After college, or maybe it was during, I had a job for about a year or so as an overnight DJ at an adult contemporary AM radio station in Southern Virginia. Actually, it wasn't just an AM station. It was, and still is, AM stereo which, at the time, had been struggling to gain a foothold ever since that pesky FM came along. The signal actually sounded pretty good if you had an AM stereo receiver and you avoided driving under overpasses... or during the rain. Or at night.

WBTM.

World’s Best Tobacco Market.

Though I also heard, World’s Best Textile Mill.

I spun easy listening adult contemporary hits from 10 pm to 6 am and had a very small but loyal following of mental ward inmates, the elderly and insomniacs. You'd be surprised to know there are so many people who call in at 3 am to request songs or comment on current events. I know I was! Not only were there the regulars... there were fans! I had actual fans! I had a guy call in most every night to predict the air quality index for the next day. At first I thought he was a 70's era prank caller who'd ring just to breathe heavy into my ear hoping that did it for me but during our relationship I learned he suffered from an assortment of breathing related issues and probably lived in an iron lung. Often, he would call to request the "Air that I Breathe" by The Hollies on what he hoped would be a good Air Quality Index day.

He'd cough it into the phone, "It's gonna be a good day, Winston. Could you play our song?"

He wanted to meet up once. I declined.

I assumed the on-air persona of Chris Winston because I thought Chris Stork sounded too much like Chris-Dork. It was college - things like that bother you at that age. Actually, you never get over being called Chris Dork as a kid. Also, remember... this was the South. I wanted a name that fit in. Chris Winston I hoped would remind people of Winston-cup Racing or Winston cigarettes. I figured people would trust me. Like Tom Brokaw. Personally, I liked Winston as in John Winston Lennon but no one ever called to say, "Play some Beatles, Winston. Wink Wink. But nothing with Oko!"

Another regular was the "Bob Dylan guy". Nope, he didn't call to request Bob Dylan as you'd imagine. Oh… he hated Dylan and called to tell me so every time I played something off of "Highway 61 Revisited". Often, on long quiet nights at the Stereo AM WBTM, when nothing fun was coming over the raw news feeds and old Bette Midler tracks weren't cheering me up, I'd play a Dylan tune and stare at the phone like a kid after meeting the girl of his dreams at the roller skating rink. (Ps... this never happened to me. Not just the girl of my dreams part - the girl part. I was the kid who couple skated with his Aunt when she forced me away from the arcade so I could get some exercise.)

But, the Bob Dylan guy. I'd play a tune and he would call to tell me how he wrote that song and sent it to Bob "when he was still going by Robert Allen Zimmerman! That traitor!" Apparently my fan was a poet and sent most of his stuff in letters to Dylan. "Once Zimmerman arranged to meet me to talk about my papers." He told me this often. Actually, he told me this every time he called. This is how every call started. “Once, we were to meet.” I forget the song he'd quote most often but he pulled it apart during every call to explain to me the clues about how Dylan was talking directly to him. "See, he's telling me when and where to meet him. I went, he never showed. Traitor! I think he got cold feet! Thought I'd demand money for my songs! I'd give him those songs. Well then. Not now. When we meet, he's gonna pay me. Traitor!"

So, on long, lonely nights... I'd play a Dylan tune to send the call out to my fan. I'd aim that bat signal at the asylum that surely existed within our coverage map. Although this was the mid 90's, most of the tracks we played were digital so we could line up the songs in a cue using a touch screen. You could drop in a Public Service Announcement or a Promo for a Church bake sale or the weekend swap meet into the mix or even record your voice as a track plugging the upcoming songs. I'd play a game where I'd do the math backwards between when I wanted my recorded voice to play and the current time so I'd get the time spot on during my interlude. "It's 3:37 and 25 seconds in the morning and up next is a classic from Bette Midler." I'd say this even though it was recorded hours before. I'd line up a number of songs and few recordings of myself and take a break to walk around the station or use the restroom. The audio board we used in the booth had faders for all the various inputs including several raw news feeds for breaking news or the news we'd play at the top of the hour.

Once, I had lined up a half hour of long songs and a few PSA's and went out to sit in the early morning Virginia air. During a 7 minute and 37 second Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin" I starting to hear faint voices under the the orchestral center of the song. The voices were about tornados and destruction and people losing their homes. I listened in and tried to clear the early morning fog from my mind and thought, "I've never heard this part of the song before." When I heard the ABC news slug and the countdown for the 30 second version of the sound bite I realized I had left one of the faders up and it was bleeding out over the air and under the Moody Blues. Luckily, it was 3:37 in the morning and those listening probably enjoyed the confusion... or were confused already.

This was just one of many errors I made during my career as an overnight DJ. I once played Elvis' "Pretty Paper" in June not realized it was a Christmas tune. I ended it with, "Let me be the first to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas."

I retired from that job having never gained the fame I hoped would come with the job. I never even had a fan run into me on the street and beg for my autograph. The closest I came was once I had a lady on the other end of the drive-thru machine at a biscuit restaurant (named BiscuitVille, of course) say I sounded familiar.

When I pulled up I asked if her she recognized my voice yet?

She said "no". I gave her my best AM stereo DJ voice and told her my stage name but it still didn't ring a bell.

Maybe Chris Dork would have been more memorable?

24 hours old

Judah

Originally uploaded by stork123

We're right down the hall in our own room and go in to feed and change him every three hours. While we've begun to split the duties to give each other more rest... more often than not, we both go! He's too hard to stay away from. Speaking of - why am I wasting my time here! I've got some parenting to do!

Awaiting the baby

Now we wait. Who would have thought the baby would go full term? Maybe it would be different if the baby was in our belly and we had some signs or something. Maybe we'd know "This is it... today is the day. Pack your bags honey... we're fixin to go!"As it is, all we can do it wait... constantly checking our phones. Everyday is Christmas Eve, Groundhog day and a snow day - wrapped up in one. The due date is less than a week away and we've been keeping ourselves busy by keeping busy. I've organized my LP's a few times and mopped and vacuumed and today I may wax the floors. I've been intentionally leaving chores undone to give me something to do the next day.

On a personal note though...

I beat my high score in the long jump on my arcade version of Track and Field and have leveled up to 52 on Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 on XboxLive and have gotten so good online, that I have begun talking trash.

But in the meantime, we wait. Maybe we'll watch some movies.

Cats in the cradle

As we unbox gifts from friends and family and ready the nursery... the cats definitely sense change is in the air! We've done our best to keep the room animal free since it's the one room in the house not overrun with dust bunnies and tumbling tumble weeds of animal hair. The dogs are curious but as long as they get fed... the don't seem to mind to much. The cats on the other hand know something is up. Turn your back for a second and they've snuck in through a partially open door. Look again, and they are in the crib.Apparently, this is their Camelot... their Fortress of Solitude. I'm sure this will pose a problem when they learn it's not for them and they're just keeping it warm for the true owner. I think in their eyes this is the one place they can relax out of sight of the dogs. This is one place they can rest easily... until I come around with the camera. Of the two cats, we've had Leroy the longest. When we brought Agador Spartacus home, it took weeks before Leroy would look us in the eye. As soon as we would walk in, he'd turn his back and continue to pivot as you walked by so his face was opposite ours the whole time. While it may be fun and games now to play in the crib and sniff around the new boxes - I'm guessing the same jealousy will arise once another human enters the nest.

My dream of having a band of minstrels.

minstrel_svirac2-150x1501.jpg

On days when the air is still and fog forms over a river, it looks like the Great Wall of China is snaking its way across the Earth. Since many state lines overlay rivers, each state is safely protected from their neighbor. Unless you're driving a VW... it can safely pass through. When I was driving to DCA the other morning, I knew it may be an interesting day as each bridge I drove over suddenly had zero visibility. Reagan National Airport is on the Potomac River (damn that L'Enfant) and was invisible from the employee parking lot. Of course, I didn't call ahead to see if my flight was delayed. We should have the same text alert feature provided to passengers. "Captain, your flight is delayed. The inbound plane making up your flight is holding and soon will divert to an airport with dozens of other planes all in line for fuel too. And then they will all try and depart at the same time, which as you know - ain't gonna happen. Go back to bed. We will send you an alert when we need you."

I never got that SMS. I, along with many others, waited for the fog to lift. I ate the breakfast I brought. Later, I ate my lunch. I entertained old ladies with my silly stories and scared a man when he told me why it wasn't dangerous to take off in the fog.

"If the shit hits the fan," I told him. "And we need to return to the field, there's nowhere to go."

Actually, the fog was only over the airport and there would be plenty of available take-off alternates. He had already gotten under my skin though and his wife, who was in earshot, was a nervous flier.

Oh, the band of minstrels?

We finally departed and got to our destination hours late. The passengers for our next flight were anxiously Greaseawaiting our arrival. They applauded as we walked up to the boarding area. (We weren't taking the same plane that we brought in so they were at a different gate.) They were a lively bunch... they were the cast of the Broadway show Grease and were traveling back to New York after a performance on the road. Several of the band members had their instruments out and were playing for the other stranded passengers.

We were there and the passengers and bags were there - all we needed was an airplane. Danny Zuko told me it had just left. He said the gate agents told them it was needed for another flight but their spirits were lifted when they saw us. Then they sang,

You're the one that I want (you are the one I want), ooh ooh ooh, honey The one that I want (you are the one I want), ooh ooh ooh, honey The one that I want (you are the one I want).

I told them "I'll get us an airplane! We are going to New York!"

Again, they applauded.

One of the stage hands said, "I like a can-do Captain!" He slapped me on the back and added, "Make it happen, Captain!"

There was a pretty good chance we weren't going to New York. The fog had slowed things down and planes were stuck everywhere. My fears were confirmed when I called dispatch and heard commotion in the background. It sounded like a triage unit setup outside a natural disaster. "You're where! But your plane is... uhho. You're not gonna like this." He put me on hold and I smiled to Sandy Olsson.

minstrel_svirac2Dispatch came on the line and said, "I gotta plane for you. It's on the ground. It's at the gate."

I told the passengers over the PA, "Off to gate 48!"

And they followed me like I was the Pied Piper. A man played a stringed instrument behind me. I realized all this time the only thing missing from my life was a traveling band of minstrels to follow me where ever I go.

I never got many Gold Medals - But I used to make them.

medalI once quit a job without giving two weeks notice. I quit after my lunch break. The boss wasn’t surprised at all. I think she even wondered why it took so long like it was a bet amongst the bosses. Each day that went by with me still on the line was another nickel in the jar.I worked at a trophy factory in Tampa and made the medals people wear around their neck after winning track meets and what not. For some reason we made lots of medals for the PBA - "The Police Benevolent Association" and I thought that if I ever got pulled over I could use this as a conversation starter. I was on an assembly line and would be given scalding hot medals from out of the mold and was to sand down the edges on a steel-brush sander until they were smooth and round. Like when Christmas cookies come out with bits that cooked under the Santa mold. My job was to remove those bits with spinning bristles of steel. These were very hot cookies and shards of lead would fly off everywhere. Along the line there were several of us with varied levels of sanders in front of us. The first would sand off the rough edges with each in the line making the edges smoother until the last in line had a very fine sander that polished the final product. Although each on the line spoke a different language... I was the only one who could communicate with any of them. On Tuesdays, it was my day to control the radio - I got news from the outside this way. We were in a hot windowless room. Often while sanding the medals I would secretly sharpen a screwdriver into a fine point to make a shiv for the day I broke free. I would tuck it under my lab coat when one of the bosses walked by. We had to wear lab coats to keep the shards of medal off our clothes. Once, I had my coat open and got it caught in the sander when I took a big old "look how many medallions I’ve completed" stretch. The sander instantly pulled me up to the machine and was sanding my already hairless chest until the Korean guy next to me turned off the power to my machine. He gave me a pat on the back as if to say, "This is why we keep our coats buttoned you little jackass who plays stupid music on Tuesday." The next day, the “No accidents in 300 days" sign changed to "No accidents in 1 day". So, I quit one day when I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t even have to use my weapon.

I used to watch alot of Fanny at my Nana's house

Plenty of sick days from Grade School were spent at my Nana's in Tampa watching this show from her king sized bed. I think it was on at 1pm while she was watching Days of Our Lives in the other room. (Side note - I threw up on her new carpet one day and while she was yelling at me for puking she started throwing up too. As a result, if it was "Bridge" day, I'd sleep in the back of her car in her friends driveway while they were inside drinking Martini's and playing cards. The ladies were afraid I had a weak stomach and would ruin their carpet.)

Read More

Nana, Ms. Pac-Man and the One Armed Bandit

Nana in Virginia City While in Lake Tahoe, we took a trip to Virginia City where the ladies in the group were happy to find MORE slot machines. I followed my Nana waiting for it "to hit."

"No Christopher, this one is about to hit." She'd say.

Back at one of the casinos in Tahoe, while the others were gambling upstairs, I spent an hour and a few dollars in the gameroom trying to break the high score on Ms. Pac-Man. While there were many kids down there with me, none shared in my excitement as I came within a few thousand of EEE's score. Soon after I gave up on the record I got served by a little kid on Dance Dance Revolution. I thought I was a better dancer after a few beers?

Even though it's overcast and rainy - it's so green. Our 3 weeks in Amsterdam

Maybe it's because I understand about one word in one hundred here (often it's not the sexual reference I think), but there is much less talk about protecting the environment and much more action here in Holland. Each day I see something else that seems so simple but in the US it would be revolutionary. Like all the other quick fixes (personal debt, weightloss, hair growth), we Americans obviously look for the magic bullet rather than lots of small fixes for the greater good.

  • Bikes, obviously. America spent billions building the interstates in the 50's. Damn near every road in Amsterdam has a bike path attached to it. Old, young and rain or shine - people are out peddling around. How refreshing it is to see an old man peddling to work chewing gum and whistling... How bad could your day be knowing that you get to ride your bike home?
  • Toilets with a flusher for number one and a flusher for number two. Although, I tossed a few spiders in the WC and wasn't sure where they fit it... To be sure, I hit number 2. "Shock and Awe" bitches.
  • Walking by stores, I wonder if they are open... its dark in there. It's dark by our standards. Sure those spiral fluorescent lights are greener - but these guys just don't use lights unless need be! How easy is that? Granted, this time of year its bright out from 5am to 10pm. They may burn seal oil day and night come winter?
  • Much smaller trash cans? Maybe it's the houseboat neighborhood here but everyone has much smaller trash cans outside? Do they use less prepackaged foods and eat more local produce? Do they burn the garbage in the oven or throw it in the canal? Either way, i thining about the amount of trash we produce and what we can do to re-use.
  • Everyone brings their own bags to the market or uses shared bags that other shoppers drop off in a bin. Rather than springing for the Trader Joes branded bags advertising how 'green' we are... we need to just use a sack.

Now, Susan and I just need to take what we've seen here and try and implement more into our routine at home. All I know for sure is I can't wait to build the disco shower from here on the boat at home. Which will mean 20 min showers under stobes on a nightly bases! But I'll be sure to hit the one flusher after number one!