The Future Imperfect

This weekend, on one of our rare, child-free nights my wife and I drove downtown to see Josh and his husband Jeff for dinner and movies. They live in a very nice neighborhood full of affluent types with fancy homes that just so happens to be about 40 feet away from the murdery, crack-rocky part of town. This is just how downtown Dallas is laid out and there’s no escaping it if that’s where you choose to hang your hat or your sack of rocks.


Funny T-Shirts, Geeky shirts, Doctor who parody shirts, Team Edward James Olmos shirt, Groverfield Shirt, Sci-Five Star Trek Parody T-Shirt in The HijiNKS ENSUE Store

Due to the infrequency with which I visit this area, and my constant focus on not being murdered, I am unable to commit the directions to memory and thus employ a GPS to get me safely there. On the way the GPS said something very much like panel one above and I found myself mocking a machine’sĀ elocution. A machine that knows exactly where I am, within 4 or 5 feet, because it can talk to 3 different satellite that are in space because we put them there with rocket ships. Is there a word that means “jaded by unfathomableĀ privilege?” Because that’s what I am. Also, it should imply that I’m a terrible asshole for not being thankful each day and marveling at the wonders that surround me. Still, when my GPS says “parkway” it sounds like a Dutch exchange student. “Paaarqueaugh?”

Instead of a movie, we watched the first episode of Misfits. We all really liked it. Many of you Fancy Bastards have recommended it, so as soon as I can procure the rest of the series I will ploy through and make some comics about it. Oh, and if you don’t get the Top Gear reference, watch HERE.

COMMENTERS: What technological marvels do you find yourself taking for granted? What would be the best or worst voice for your GPS to have?

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    • Eddie Izzard would be the best/worst voice ever.

      "And we're driving! Yes! Driiiiiviiiing lah-di-daahhh…and hmm….yes, yes driving! So, uuuhhh….LEFT! Yes turn LEFT at the next, well, the next left, I suppose! It'd be a bit off to turn left at the next right, wouldn't it? Right's a funny direction…It also means 'correct'….for those of you who don't speak english. Which isn't many people, now days…."

      You're halfway to your destination before it gets back on the topic of directions.

  1. OMG LOVING THIS! My best friend and I drove from upstate NY all the way to Cape Cod (8 hrs) with Dalek Khan as our navigator. I have videos of him telling us to turn right or be exterminated.

  2. Patrick Stewart of course. Also I find myself quite annoyed when the text to voice feature doesn't work perfectly in my phone instead of being amazed that it can even do that.

  3. Holy Jebus why does this not exist yet!? BBC, get on this and solve all your financial woes forever! I guess I could see the Dalek one getting old quickly, though. Might I suggest a Sontaran voice pack?

  4. I'd love a Captain Slow GPS! Clarkson one would be only available to super cars that run on liquid evil and have big brown baby seal eyes for headlights, yeah!

    • Surely that would be the worst thing possible!? "Umm… now what you want to do here is take the third exit… or is it the second? No, it was the the second and we just missed it. Ho hum."

      How about the Stig instead? Just an image of a white helmet on the screen and no sound; and if that's not enough for you to get to your destination then you don't deserve to get there in the first place!

  5. Was just going to say, my old TomTom One has Dalek voice as an option. Usually I find that… distracting, so I default to John Cleese, Brian Blessed (at a toll booth: "Give 'em the exact fare, and tell 'em to keep the change!!!!!"), or my personal favorite, Joanna Lumley (Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous aka AbFab): "In 300 yaaahhhds, you have reached your destination, daaahhhling."

  6. As soon as you can procure the rest of Misfits? The first 2 seasons are on Hulu, for free!

    Also I was in tears laughing so hard at the idea of a GPS having a stroke.

    • I was just about to make the same comment. You can see all 13 episodes of Misfits (6×2 series + xmas episode that is counted as 7th in 2nd series) on without being a Hulu plus member.

      Like other SciFi shows of late, it does have an uneven episode occasionally, but it doesn't take itself too seriously. Unlike Lost or Heroes, Misfits doesn't spend tons of time trying to tease the audience with any hints at all about how/why this happened to these people. I see some similarities to Lost (of which I am a big fan), but the British do a better job of telling a story in just a few episodes.

            • As someone who doesn't live within the US, Hulu fucking sucks.

              Let's see… English-speaking world population of about 536 million minus a US population of about 330 million equals two hundred and six million or so (approximately) people who might like to see something on Hulu who don't live in the US, and therefore can't.

              That's right, just by allowing viewing of Hulu outside the US they could almost double their audience, but they don't. And if you're in the US you never think of it, it seems. Even Joss Whedon put Dr. Horrible on Hulu so that "everyone" could see it. Luckily someone stuck it up on YouTube or I'd still have never seen it.

              Sorry; just a bit bitter about fucking Hulu.

              • It's all about the copyright. Someone outside the US might use their actual Fair Use exemption to do something (like education) that the owners couldn't control, or alternatively, sue over.

        • it's definitely free, I have yet to see the point in paying for a service that gets funded by commercials, only to keep the commercials after I've paid.

          • Clearly you and Hulu will have to agree to disagree.

            I'd just be happy if it wasn't THE SAME GODDAMN COMMERCIALS OVER AND OVER. I was curious to see that YouTube movie the first 20 times, but by the 50th time I'd seen the ad I wanted to murder the YouTube movie. In front of its children.

  7. We leave our GPS on Australian Female for the lulz. "Approaching barbie on the left" when we went to a bbq place was definitely a highlight.

  8. Daria does a GPS voice and if I had GPS, I would definitely want her deadpan snark telling me I missed a turn.

    Also, Misfits is awesome and as mentioned above, available on regular, free hulu. I am constantly amazed at that show. It's such a "they could never do this on American tv" kind of thing.

  9. I don't know if I should feel guilty for mocking my GPS, or out of the loop for not realizing there were decent options. For the record, mine does get the most impaired in the DFW area, so it could be a collective GPS stroke or something. Because that exists.

    • Ever since I moved to the Dallas area my GPS likes to tell me to do things like go right in a complete circle so that I can then go left on a two way instead of just turning left onto the damn two way.

  10. to go with the theme of the car i'd have to have Starscream or Optimus Prime as the voice of my GPS. And instead of having the horn honk when i locked it the transforming sound would be required.

  11. I would enjoy a Zachary-Quinto-as-Spock voice, I think, because it would make me feel super efficient. He has a very light, pleasant voice to listen to. (Though I love Nimoy!Spock the most, I don't think I'd want him as a GPS.)

  12. Morgan Freeman would probably put me to sleep, but it would be a very pleasant lead up to a fiery crash: "Studies have show that people enjoy listening to the sound of my voice. Turn right."

    I think the most motivational would be Red Foreman: "You missed the turn, dumbass. What the hell is wrong with you? Turn around before I put my foot up your ass!"

    Glen Beck would prove utterly useless: "And we've come to the place where I believe that there's no way to get where we're going, these places – there's nothing that we can do that will get us there in one piece, unless we go through God…"

    As would Fred Phelps: "God hates maps."

  13. If you're clever enough you could potentially get any celebrities voice using that voice synthesizing software that Roger Ebert uses and then loading it to your gps.

  14. Love how the GPS turned into a tiny Dalek at the end. (The wittle Dalek is just so cuute, isn't it?) I think a Dalek voice would definitely be the worst possible voice for a GPS. It would probably be funny for a few minutes, but I think it would get old pretty fast. I want my GPS to sound like Majel Barrett, as the computer voice on original series Star Trek. Alternatively, it would be funny to have it sound like the sexy computer voice from the OSST episode when the computer system was messed up, and Kirk was all ticked off about it.

    I don't think I could live without my iPhone. Half my brain is in there. If something happened to it, I would probably just freeze in place, unable to do anything, because I couldn't check my phone to remember what I was supposed to do next.

  15. I have the Dalek voice on my GPS. It's not quite as awesome, but it's still cute.
    "Human. Stop now or you will be exterminated."

  16. You will all be delighted to know that in one of Jeremy Clarkson's newspaper columns last week, he was describing the tedious process he had to go through when recording a GPS voice pack.

  17. Jezza would constantly slag off your car – unless it's an Aston or a Jaaaag. Captain Slow would pontificate about all the technical specs and get totally lost in the process. The Hammster would giggle every time you accelerate, then moan that this would all be so much better on a motorbike (mean variation: he'd crash you into a guard rail).

    On the original question: I get pissed off at my phone's mp3-player when it's on shuffle for not playing the song I want…

  18. As much as I hate to say it, the word(phrase) you're after that means "jaded by unfathomable privilege, and a terrible asshole for not being thankful each day and marveling at the wonders that surround us" is "western society human".

  19. Anyone even remotely familiar with MST3K would want Torgo from "Manos: The Hands of Fate" as their GPS, even if the Master does not approve of such devices:

    yOu CoUld tUrn lEFt aT tHe LiGht, bUt tHe MASter wOUld NoT apPROve, iT WiLl bE DArk sOOn, tHEre iS nO wAY oUT.

  20. As a child of teh Eighties, how could I not want KITT? That would make an awesome voice!! "Turn left ahead, Michael. Get ready; we should be arriving in about two minutes." XD Nerdgasms all over the place.

    Sadly, as huge of a geek as I am (we built our own wireless Internet company), the three things in my house (aside from tiny little 32-gig sim cards that are smaller than my fucking fingernail– holy shit how does that even work?! I remember my first ONE gig hard driv– it was so huge how could anyone ever fill it up?!) that blow me away the most often with how amazing they are are my fridge, my taps, and my toilet.

    Let me explain. We bought a small house on a rural piece of property with no well, and no septic system. Also my fridge was a thrift store piece of crap: tiny, had no rails on the door shelves, and tehre was NO way to rummage around the freezer without everything falling onto you.

    For the first six months we used an outhouse and buckets of water. Eventually we got the pump for the cistern working so that, instead of having to carry in water and heat it on the stove, we could simply fill up hte big bucket the pump drew from, and have showers. Had to fill pots of water up in the bathroom though, because the taps in the kitchen didn't work.

    The first well we drilled was an epic failure (540 feet deep to get half a gallon an hour– every 24 hours we'd get 12 gallons of water, which is enough for ONE sink of water for dishes, one 5-minute shower, and, once a week, one load of laundry). That bloody well also used up all our funds for a septic system, so we put in a composting toilet. The compost is amazing and it was so tall that it was much easier to get on and off of when I was pregnant, and that's about all I can say about it without getting gross.

    A couple of years later I acme into some money, and we bought a new fridge, put in a well, and put in something of a septic system. Just this year, we finally installed a (low-flow) flush toilet.

    My new fridge is huge. It has a shelf that you can adjust just by turning a little handle on the front with one hand, so when the stew pot or what doesn't quite fit I just spin this little thing around a few times and then it does. It has a freezer drawer on the bottom. With a second basket. And a light. I can fill it to the tits, rummage around in it, and NOTING LANDS ON MY HEAD. It's AMAZING. I love it SO MUCH.

    ALL THE PLUMBING WORKS. When I want water, I don't have to go outside and scoop a potful and heat it up onthe stove, I just turn a tap and bam! It's there. Showers…. Ah, man. I can have a hot shower any time I want by just turning a handle and pulling a knob. AND THE WATER DOESN'T RUN OUT.

    On top of it, I can even drink all the water without boiling it or anything. And it tastes good.

    Holy shit, don't even get me started on electric lights.

    Flush toilets, clean water on demand, and efficient, user-friendly food storage. Also a non-leaking roof. That's what blows me away on a regular basis.

    I mean, dude, why does our Android even NEED a gravity meter, anyways?!

  21. Watching the Daily Show after a sneaky little two-week vacation that just happened to end on Labor Day so they could sneak in one more day off, I'm tempted to take the easy potshot and say there are plenty of terrible politician voices. Imagine a John Kerry, Al Gore, or Tim Pawlenty voice.

    However, in the interest of taking the high ground, I think a Morse Code voice would be awesome. A horrible idea, and not terribly helpful? Absolutely, but it would also make your car sound like a war room from a WWII movie.

  22. "This was no suwpise, I told you to turn left at State Street and you turned left at State Street. Now I sell State Street to Ted Dibiase!"

  23. I think Steven Wright would be the worst possible GPS voice. If it isn't telling me to slam the car into the side of an embankment, I'm pretty sure I'll have that idea all on my very own.

    Second worst would probably have to be Emo Phillips. I'd probably miss my turn by the time I realize he just told me to turn right – assuming he actually gets the words out in time.

  24. I take watching any online videos on my computer for granted. A few years ago, my internet connection was so bad it took longer to load the video than watch it, even though it started buffering every few seconds.

  25. Oh hell YES! I want that on my Tom-Tom. Nothing would sum me up so well then having my GPS set to Dalek. That has to be done and I would so willingly get it.

  26. The term I've heard used and use on myself when I complain about things I should be extremely grateful for is "first world problems." When my internet goes down for fifteen minutes and I explode in incoherent nerd rage… first world problem. When my email service puts an email I was waiting for in my spam folder… first world problem.

  27. I shall paraphrase because I regretably cannot remember the original source, but it goes something like this:
    “Give people a magical metal tube that will grant them the ability to literally fly through the air so fast that an hour’s travel will take them farther than their ancestors would have traveled in an entire lifetime, and what will they do? They’ll complain about the food.”

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