A nostalgic look at answering machine messages.

Not all that long ago, answering machines were a really useful tool that we all felt we had to have. I’m talking 1990’s, when not everyone had a cell phone, and people actually looked forward to reviewing their answering machine messages when they got home from work.

Back then (when it was so… important :), my wife used to cringe at my tendency to have a little fun with the recordings we had on our machine. I remember a few messages that provoked some serious and humorous responses. One time I had a computer synthesized voice that said “Brian and Sheila are no longer available, I have taken control….”. My mother was really disturbed by that one. On another occasion I had one I recorded (in my best Voice Response System type voice) which said…. “You have reached the Blankenships, Press #1 if you are calling about home improvements, Press #2 if you are selling lawn treatments, and if you are the Courier Journal calling to get me to subscribe to the daily paper, please hang up now!”. That one got lots of laughs, and one rude comment which I imagine was someone soliciting subscriptions which happened almost daily at the time.

I also created some humorous audio clips which I used for several answering machine messages. I ran across some of these recently and decided to share them. I plan to put one of them (probably pickcurl.wav or vru.wav) on my current answering machine at home (yes, for some reason I still have a home phone albeit it is VoIP). File links are provided below for your amusement or use on your own answering machine or voicemail.

pickcurl.wav – a mashup of Star Trek TNG and Curly from the Three Stooges.
timon.wav – Funny clip from a song in The Lion King
various.wav – a bunch of things thrown together
vru.wav – a ridiculous set of instructions on how to leave a message. I didn’t create this one, and I can’t remember where I found it. It is still funny today though, and I think it might be the first one I put back on my answering machine.

I never considered myself an artist….

Discussing a data masking issue with some co-workers, my dry-erase marker started leaking all over everything. I had never experienced a marker over-filled like this. I grabbed some paper and flinged the excess ink on it. I soon decided it was art, signed and numbered it, and showed it to a co-worker who is putting it on eBay. If by chance you would be interested in paying a large sum of money for a one of a kind piece of art such as this, just let me know.


Phantom Me

This photo looks like I am just sitting in a conference room, but actually I am at my cube where I normally sit all day.   Weird reflection off of the glass makes it look like I am in the conference room.   Several people commented about it.  Weird, but an interesting effect.