As Far As I Can Tell

I love you, I love my grandkids

Wrong numbers can be great little insights into the life of a stranger. What’s best is when they leave a message without realizing (for some reason) that this isn’t the right number. This happens on my phone routinely, including a sad message a while ago of a man trying to tell someone when they can come down to the funeral home for a visitation. Nothing else though has been quite as bizarre as the 2.5 minute message left on my machine Saturday.

It’s rambling, crazy, threatening and nonsensical. At one point she’s implies that she’s putting someone else on the line, but then keeps talking. At another she seems to take a long drink with loud gulping noises.

I recorded it as an MP3 so you can download it [580K] and listen for yourself with your favorite media player.

I hope this is a friend of mine doing a fabulous job of screwing with me.



I can offer no insight into what the hell that message was. I heard something about the ‘po-po’ and was there a threat to ‘bust your ass’ somewhere in there? I’m not even convinced that was a woman’s voice. My advice, Simon, is to keep your grandkids locked up safe and don’t answer the phone unless you recognize the number on caller ID.

Posted by: vanessa on March 30, 2004 5:52 PM

why do i miss all of the best things. i would have called her back like the time i tried to call the funeral man. you should try to make friends with her. maybe she can housesit during our european adventure.

Posted by: meredith on April 1, 2004 2:06 PM

based on my fondness for mumbling, you know this is my most favorite thing. I’m very jealous of you. Please call them back and ask them to leave a message for me so I can laugh like that again

Posted by: bil on April 8, 2004 10:08 PM

I’ve heard plenty of disjointed answering machine messages but that one takes the cake. It sounded like a montage of bizarre phone calls but yet it all happened at one time. About a year ago I got a series of phone calls from “Jack.” He was a grizzled and foul mouthed man who had mistaken my number for some kids that owed him some money for drugs. He wasn’t happy.

Posted by: Josh on April 9, 2004 5:18 PM

Sometimes there are these special moments that only You get to experience. It is what makes life so special. occationally some one called “tru green” will call and leave messages. No one here knows who “Tru Green” is. Oh, and AT&T calls all the damn time.

Posted by: erin (aka "mary") mathieson on April 11, 2004 2:39 PM


A few days ago I went to the new Music Express, a few doors down from their old location. They got rid of all the non-music merchandise and expanded their selection, particularly the vinyl. I feel like we have a real record store in Kalamazoo again. I picked up the TV on the Radio CD and the new Iron & Wine record with bonus 7”.

I finally spoke to Meredith on the phone today. After hours of international dialing confusion last night I connected, only to hear a French recording speak nonsense to me. Was this her voice mail? Maybe, but I had no proof and left the odd sort of message you leave when you’re not sure who’s going to be listening.

But today, after repeating that confusion 3 times throughout the day, she answered. Hopefully I’ll have less problems calling now, since I’d really like to talk to her often. I can’t wait until I’m there.



Awwww…. man! Where can I get my homebrewing supplies now?! DAMMIT! —jake

Posted by: jake on March 26, 2004 1:04 AM

Six Hours Ahead

Meredith left for France this morning, and though she’s been gone the least amount of time I think today might be the hardest. Right now she’s still in the air above the Atlantic.

We had a small going away party this Saturday. Most of my photos ended up blurry, but here are a couple good ones.

Going away party overview

Party guests snooping in photo albums



Damn it, Simon! I wish I had thought of that ladder. Some of my pictures are here:

Posted by: Andrea on March 23, 2004 5:50 PM

after viewing andrea’s shots, i have decided you and your friends are way too hot.

Posted by: jim on March 24, 2004 11:39 PM

simon, my email is still broken. Did you get the message i sent you from meagans account which contained my cell phone number here? Call me tonight after work, 5:30 your time, 11:30 here. i miss you and i am so french already.

Posted by: meredith on March 25, 2004 7:15 AM

I’m having terrible problems calling you. I finally got it to connect once I dropped the first zero, but then I just get a message in French without any ringing and it ends. Are you sure the number is correct? I emailed at Meagan’s account with your email password and information. I logged in to it fine, so it should work for you. I’m frustrated by not being able to call this number. I’ve spent about 2 hours trying different things. I’ll keep trying. I miss you too.

Posted by: simon on March 25, 2004 8:10 AM

The Books

This week I discovered The Books, and not in a long time have I found and artist that so instantly excited me. Their music is a college of electronic bits, folky banjo, violin, and vocal samples. They’re experimental, but know just when change pace to avoid being tedious. At first it reminded me of John Cage and aeatoric music, but it’s far too well orchestrated to be in that realm.

In a Pitchfork interview, members note being influenced by Dadaists, Surrealists, and Fluxus; which describes the music better then a listing of overlapping musical genres could. It reminds me of walking down a busy street, losing track of time in an art gallery or spending hours eavesdropping and watching cars in the park. There’s a calming sense of wonderment in their music, and I’d definitely recommend headphones.

Record Label Site
Sample tracks from Insound



They’re great! Have you ever kept the radio on seek when you’re driving? You get some interesting juxtapositions.

Posted by: vanessa on March 18, 2004 12:12 PM

Exactly. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, but this really makes me want to get a mindisc recorder. What I ideally want is to have a digital device that can take a mic input and record directly to a digital file — like an ipod with a microphone jack.

Posted by: simon on March 18, 2004 1:46 PM

you can get voice recorders for ipods now, silly! (i’m feeling hot now, knowing something you don’t know in the digital realm) (on a related note, i interviewed with the huge apple store this week!)

Posted by: jim on March 19, 2004 1:59 AM

My camera does that. I have a 2 min long sound clip from Seattle from when that guy from some band cornered you and talked to you about Jesus. I thought it would be funny to listen to later. daveb

Posted by: daveb on March 21, 2004 2:44 PM

Covering my head

Meredith leaves for France in a week, and thinking about that makes me want to put something on my head. Hats, scarves, blankets, pillows or hands. Things on my head make me feel better. This is her finals week, which means there won’t be any gap between super busy and on a plane.

Two days ago I bought my plane tickets to visit her. Having those purchased makes me feel better, like it compresses time by having a set date. I haven’t bought tickets online until recently, and I’m really impressed with the process. The part I like best is the seat chooser, which shows you all the seats in the plane and lets you pick an available one. I’m flying in window seat 35A both ways.

June 1st: Chicago » Paris » Strasbourg
June 16th: Florence » Paris » Chicago



With all of that hair, one would think you already had enough weight on your head. Soon we will have an European adventure…just like the token vaction on every sitcom. When we can’t figure out round-abouts in our Smart Car, it will be comedic genius. Let’s look forward to that and in the mean time I will send you perfumed letters written at sidewalk cafes in Strasbourg.

Posted by: meredith on March 15, 2004 8:28 PM

simon, that first paragraph was beautiful. also, i indeed am amused by the seat chooser. i als remember that you don’t always get the specific seat you select, though. so i just pick generic “window”. i hope you do get 35A. i also hope meredith enjoys france! how jealous am i that i will always have to visit a foreign country to see the girl of mine, but meredith is actually an american? quite. (yes, i am dating a canadian) (btw i am paranoid about spam, or i would have listed my real email…i think it’s around here somewhere….)

Posted by: jim on March 15, 2004 11:50 PM

I think I am going to be buying my tickets this weekend. It looks like the overlap isn’t going to happen. We will be on the same continent, but just in different places. I think I am flying into Paris on May 12th and flying out of Rome on June 4th. It would have been nice, maybe we can take a trip somewhere in the US before the summer is over.

Posted by: Isaiah on March 16, 2004 3:38 PM

*Meredith*: That is why I can’t ever go bald — my hair keeps me company. I can’t wait to be lazily traveling with you. *Jim*: I need to keep up with your weblog more. I’m glad to see that you switched to Live Journal since they offer RSS/Atom feeds. I tend to read things more often when my newsreader can tell me they’ve been updated. *Isaiah*: We should definitely plan something for later in the summer. I could take a long weekend off work and we could drive somewhere — Canada or the east coast maybe. Either way, I’m glad you’re going to Europe for a while. You’ll need a break from this continent when you get done with school.

Posted by: simon on March 16, 2004 3:53 PM

simon— 1. i haven’t abandoned the other site. i’ve just expanded 2. i don’t know if the RSS is automatic—is it? 3. i’d love to get in to reading RSS stuff—any favorites you might point me to? I use Konfabulator on my Mac to read stuff. :-) I think you’d dig this program, and it’s widgets.

Posted by: jim on March 16, 2004 10:19 PM

Exploiting 9/11

President Bush’s reelection campaign released their first round of television ads yesterday, and I’m appalled that one of them makes use of 9/11 imagery. Exploiting such a tragedy for political gain is offensive and shameful. Regretfully the strategy extends beyond the single TV spot. The Republican Convention is being held in NYC this year, with its date pushed to Sept. 2, the latest ever in the history of the party. As stated in the New York Times from April 22, 2003 they “chose the date so the event would flow into the commemorations marking the third anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks”.

George Bush has refused to testify in front of the 9/11 commission, set up to determine what went wrong in the lead-up to the attacks. Yet he doesn’t seem to mind using the tragedy to his advantage in political maneuvering. Here is a man who would rather exploit a nation’s grief, then help make sure it doesn’t happen again.



Yeah, I’ve also mixed feelings about the 9/11 adds. Having not seen them, I can’t comment on whether they’re in poor taste or not. I’m mixed about it because I think it’s important to remember 9/11 and what it means for current political reality. But I don’t think it should be exploited for political gain. Although, to be fair, many in the left have equally exploited 9/11 for their side, too. It’s the kind of bad judgement that affects both parties, unfortunately.

Posted by: miguel on March 6, 2004 2:08 PM

His entire presidency is structured around the “war on terror.” His other accomplishments amount to nothing but a list of malfunctioning acts of legislation. What else could we expect.

Posted by: Isaiah on March 8, 2004 2:27 PM

You’re right, Ike. Bush hasn’t done much but the war on terror. But. It’s the most important issue right now. At least I certainly think so. I wanted an alternative (Democrat or otherwise) who could do the domestic stuff I’d like — but still be tough on the war on terror front. I’ve not seen that. And. For me. That’s all that counts right now. I’d love to see some Liberal domestic policies. But I want to first make sure Western Civilization survives the new Islamofascist threat that could consume us.

Posted by: miguel on March 8, 2004 6:57 PM

I don’t think that Bush has done a good job defining or fighting the “war on terror”. Let’s get someone in power that might be able to stay focused on immediate and actual terrorist threats. As a bonus, maybe they’ll give a damn about our civil liberties and environment. Even the pentagon admits that the environment is a far greater threat than terrorism, and Bush has an absolutely abysmal environmental record. Islamist extremists aren’t our only problem.

Posted by: simon on March 8, 2004 7:42 PM

I agree w/ you, Simon. I think Bush hasn’t handled the job as well as I’d like. And the threat on civil liberties also worries me. And, yes, Islamic extremists are our only problem — but they’re the most significat one (in my opinion). My problem’s that I didn’t see the Dems put forward a candidate that addressed that issue to my liking. Liberman did. Maybe also Edwards, but he lost to Kerry. I’ve been trying to make up my mind about Kerry; but I’m not yet seeing/hearing what I want to hear. Did you read his last foreign policy speach I linked to? It was almost what I wanted to hear, but some things not fleshed out that worried me. In short, I want someone to do a much better job than Bush. That’s just a given. But I don’t want someone that’s gonna do a worse job. If I have to choose between the lesser of two evils …

Posted by: miguel on March 9, 2004 2:17 PM

I’m not sure what the uproar is. Yes, a tragedy shouldn’t be the basis of peddling anything, let alone a presidency but have you witnessed our country lately? Flags here, firemen there. I am not making this up but I just saw an ad for Wrestlemania XX that featured firemen standing around a fire truck watching a television while a american flag flies in the background. I did see the bush ad and it does take a tragedy and spin it for adventageous support of the re-election of Bush but really, is that any different than all of the flag mechants, firemen doll hawkers, and “god bless america” bumpersticker salesmen? Should the person who will hold the office of the president of the united states be any different from the guy who sells anything with “united we stand” on it? Yes. Is that the way it is? No. Not at all.

Posted by: jake on March 10, 2004 1:55 AM

Well put, Jake. Someone once said: “We elect the people we deserve.”

Posted by: miguel on March 11, 2004 2:11 PM

i like bush. i will vote for him again.

Posted by: Nate on March 23, 2004 6:38 AM

you people make me sick to my stomach. so ignorant people. you, as american citizen, have an obligation to educate yourselves!

Posted by: jerry on April 13, 2004 6:13 PM

As far as who can tell?

Chicago, IL

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