Subject: Phone Review

Date: 11 Jan 1999 00:00:00 GMT

From: atruwe@shoggoth.uoregon.edu

Organization: The Innsmouth Look, Inc.

Newsgroups: alt.freaks, alt.slack.devo, alt.foot.fat-free

 

 

Sorry for the massive crosspost, but this is a matter of EXTREME

RELEVANCE for all three newsgroups.

 

My doltish ex-roommate has moved about 40% of her crud out of the room.

This leaves me TVless, but I don't mind terribly. And yesterday, my

good pal Sean-o took me 'phone shopping.

 

I don't know why I put that apostrophe there. Getting old, I suppose.

Perhaps I will eventually speak of attending the moving picture show.

 

Be that as it may, I had a certain phone in mind. The TalkBoy F/X+,

from Tiger Toys.

 

Two years ago, I had seen television advertisements for the Clueless

Phone, a translucent pink telephone with various intriguing features.

The phone could be used normally, or the microphone and speaker could be

popped out and used as a headpiece. There was also an "eavesdropping

detector" that would make a noise if an extension was picked up. Three

buttons made sound effects; if I recall correctly they were an annoying

voice saying "As if," "Gag me with a spoon," and perhaps some other

teenybopper slang.

 

Watching the commercial, I was both gladdened that a telephone of such

diverse utility was being manufactured and saddened that it was so

fancy-frilly and pink. Suddenly, in the last five seconds, the ad

mentioned a similar model in grey and purple, with (presumably)

different sound effects, aimed at boys. Hot dog!

 

I haunted the toy stores for several months, but never saw the male

model. I was almost to the point of purchasing the pink phone when they

suddenly vanished entirely. I took the whole affair as a lesson in

timely decision making, and resigned myself to using Trimline model

telephones until such technology existed that I could carry a Maxwell

Smart-style shoe phone.

 

Then, this holiday season, the ads popped up again. There was a big

difference, though; the commercials spent most of their time extolling

the merits of the TalkBoy F/X+, then included a short message at the end

about the Clueless phone.

 

The last time I was at a large toy store, my escort was trying to

convince me to buy a light saber so we could "have space battles." Not

learning from experience, I decided to wait until a later expedition to

purchase the telephone of my dreams.

 

At this time, my enthusiasm had cooled slightly. My roommate's cordless

phone was the phone in use at the dorm, and there was little chance that

she'd let me plug this one in instead. Loud, screaming fights with your

boyfriend just aren't the same when your telephone is capable of

altering your pitch to a Chipmunk-like squeal.

 

I didn't mention that feature, did I? It wasn't emphasized in the ads,

and I had forgotten it by the second time I went to find a phone. I had

just learned Weinman was moving out, and had also started coming down

with a killer cold. Sean was in town, and took the excuse to poke

around Toys "R" Us for a while. We found the kids' phone aisle, and saw

some strange things.

 

The Sabrina, the Teenage Witch phone still baffles us. It claimed to be

able to predict when you would get a phone call. Sean and I stared at

the box for the longest time, trying to figure it out.

 

SEAN: I wonder if this "prediction" comes in the form of a "ringing"

noise.

 

ME: I'm still trying to determine into which part of this device one

speaks.

 

There were also some telephones selling under the name "Way Cool

Phones!" One model was a Princess phone, with push buttons and a swirly

green/white/orange color scheme, reminiscent of early plastics. The

rest seemed to be identical to ordinary phones, except much chunkier and

with annoying pastel or neon colors and an odd matte finish.

 

They had an ample supply of TalkBoy F/X+ phones. I picked one up and

looked at the packaging.

 

"Hey, Sean, this has a VOICE MODULATOR, too!"

 

"WHOA! Annna, can we go to your dorm and plug it in before I go back to

Corvallis? If it's HALF as cool as it sounds, I want one."

 

I purchased it uneventfully. We drove back to the dorm, and I sent Sean

to the call box downstairs. I'd like to say we had a pleasant

conversation, but Sean couldn't stop laughing enough to say much.

 

The earpiece fit my ear all right, and the volume control was a nice

touch. There were only four settings on the voice modulator, but that's

enough for civilian purposes. Unfortunately, using the voice modulator

allows you to hear your own modified voice through the earpiece, about a

quarter of a second after you have said something. It makes it a bit

confusing to talk.

 

The three sound effects on the boys' version are

1. Chipmunk laugh

2. Boioioioioing

3. Doorbell

 

I think they should have substituted a horn saying Ah-OOOO-gah for #1.

 

As my roommate received most of the phone calls around here, and I am

not actively calling people due to a violent cough, I have not yet used

the voice modulation device or even the sound effects on an unsuspecting

human. Yet.

 

Speculation is that I might have bronchitis again. If it gets worse

tomorrow, or I just get sick of listening to myself cough, I suppose

I'll have to phone up the doctor's office.

 

Hello. <doorbell noise> I need to make an appointment with Dr.

<annoying laugh> Junior. I think I have <boiiiing> bronchitis.

 

 

Annnnna

--

| <atruwe (at) gladstone.uoregon.edu> | Annna Truwe |alt.slack.devo|

| "Dad-blame it, BDSM people need to get way more funky!" |

| -- Laura Goodwin | also annna (at) earthling.net |

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Special note to everyone out there in Usenet land: Sean-o not only took

me phone shopping, he also gave me his perfectly good answering machine,

for the sole reason that it plays an electronic song while rewinding,

and he just can't stand it. He's a swell guy.