…although maybe not the NFL you were expecting
I have thought about blogging my ordeal trying to unlock a Sprint iPhone 5 on T-Mobile, and I may well do that. But right now, since I have yet to successfully get this out-of-contract, paid-for phone off its software-tethered carrier, I need to deactivate the teeny-tiny SIM card I got for the iPhone, and reactivate the same old SIM I was using in my Android phone, the same one I’ve had for 10 years, so I have some phone to use.
When I called customer support, however, I was told it couldn’t be done. I asked if they had a way to look up my SIM cards and just use whatever they showed the previous one to be; I was asked for the number so they could look it up. (It’s still unclear whether they have access to those records; I assume not.) I wasn’t sure which number they were asking for, since there is one printed horizontally and one vertically, but assumed the 6-digit code was too short to be any kind of unique identifier. So I read off the other number that was printed. “I’m sorry, sir, the system won’t let me activate a card with fewer than 19 digits.” The SIM card I had had three groups of four digits and one group of three at the end. Searching for images of T-Mobile SIMs, I saw three groups of five digits followed by one group of four. “Well, then put four 0s in front of it,” I suggested. “If that doesn’t work, put four trailing zeroes.” Still no luck. The computer wouldn’t accept it. “That’s ridiculous!” I screamed in protest. “This card was working just a week ago! If it worked then, there has to be some way to make it work now!” I even bugged the poor kid till he put his manager on. No dice, I was told. Finally, I hung up in defeat. I vowed to call again in the morning and harass their American customer support, who of course would be able to connect me to a tech who actually knew what they were doing.
However, after I mulled over “the code will start with 8901,” for a few moments, looking at those pictures online, a lightbulb went off. I called back and said I wanted to reactive my old SIM card. “No problem, sir,” I was told. “Could you please give me the number off the back of the card?” “89012…” I read off. The old 15-digit code starts with a 2, so I just read off the following digits in groups of five, followed by the last four digits. “OK, sir, that SIM card has been activated. Is there anything else we can help you with today?”
TL;DR: To use an old T-Mobile SIM, just give them the old number prefixed with 8901, giving you a total of a 19-digit code.
I can’t lie, I kind of feel like a bad-ass hacker right now.
Can you imagine how petty it would look if the U.S. said, “We’re tired of sharing a currency sign with Canada and Mexico. Even though $ is a perfectly good symbol with historical pedigree, it’s too easy type in ASCII, and we’re special. We’re going to make up a new one, just for us, and then because we have a consumer market of 30 crore, manufacturers and standards-making bodies will be forced to implement it.”
> From: ఎరిక్ వినైల్
> To: రమేష్ రెడ్డి
> Subject: నమస్తే రమేష్! HOLY SHIT GET READY FOR A WALL OF TEXT - సూపర్ బౌల్, అమెరికన్ ఫుట్బాల్, etc.
> Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2015 02:15:49 -0800
> American football is incredibly brutal, but it's also a game of skill and complex strategy. Its rulebook is almost as thick as a telephone directory. But that doesn't matter. All you need to know, and all most Americans know, is the following:
> The object of the game is to carry the ball into the other team's goal area. Each side has 4 chances, called 'downs', to advance the ball 10 yards. If they do so, they are given another 4 attempts; if they run out of chances they must surrender the ball, at the point on the field where the play ended, to the other team.
> You will often see or hear the down and remaining number of yards, e.g. '1st & 10', meaning first down and 10 yards to advance to gain another first down, or '3rd & 6', third down, with another 6 yards remaining (meaning they advanced 4 yards in their first two downs), etc.
> The ball is dead and the play is over when the ball carrier is tackled and the referee blows the whistle. The next play begins from the yardline where the last one ended.
> Catching the ball in the 'end zone' or putting it across the goal line is called a 'touchdown', and scores 6 points. After the touchdown the team will kick the ball through the goal posts, for the 'extra point'.
> (They also have the option of trying to bring the ball into the endzone again from the 2-yard line in one play to score two points.)
> If the attacking side ('offense' in Am.E.) do not think they can gain another '1st down' on their 4th, they will often 'punt', or kick the ball to the other side of the field, so the opposing team must start further back from the goal line. If the offence are close enough, they might also try to kick a 'field goal' through the posts at the end of the field - this is worth only 3 points.
> That's it, that's all you need to know to follow a game! All the rest the referees and television commentators will explain.
> Some additional background:
> A match is one hour of regulation time, divided into four 'quarters'. The game clock counts down from 15 minutes, and stops for time-outs and when a pass is not caught or the ball goes into touch ('out of bounds'). If the scores are level at the end of four quarters, an additional 15-minute period will be played.
> Each side has 11 players, just like soccer. However, unlike other sports, unlimited substitutions are allowed between plays - this means that usually there is an entirely different set of players on the field when a team is a attacking than when they are defending. Additionally, there are specialised players for kicking plays.
> The pitch is 100 yards long and marked every 10. A yard is basically the same as a metre (technically the formal definition is 0.9144 m). 3 'feet' are in a yard, one 'foot' is 12 inches long. That actually doesn't even matter for our purposes... I tell you all this not to help you understand the game, but because if you're living in the States it's good to know. (I know, it seems ridiculously arcane and arbitrary, but dozenal measurement systems were common throughout the world before the adoption of metric.)
> American football and soccer, believe it or not, started out as different versions of the same sport. Just as baseball shares a common ancestor with cricket, so too is American football an outgrowth of English football games. It was strongly influenced by the Rugby School's rules, and, like rugby, over time prioritised ball carrying and running, with kicking becoming marginalised. After this game, formed at universities, became immensely popular, a professional league was founded.
> Hyderabad actually has its own pro football team now, స్కై కింగ్స్.
> The National Football League is divided into two 'conferences', further divided into four four-team divisions each (North, South, East, West), for a total of 32 teams. 12 of those teams make it to the postseason (American sport loves playoff$$$), with the winners advancing to the Conference finals, and finally to the Super Bowl, the league championship game.
> This year's game, Super Bowl XLIX (Roman numeral 49) is the final of the 2014 season.
> The Super Bowl is often called an 'unofficial holiday', because of what an event it is - not merely a football match, but an excuse to gather with friends and feast; many people host viewing parties. Typical foods are chips and dip (tortilla chips and Mexican-inspired salsa), chicken, and, of course, pizza - 'finger foods' that can be eaten on the sofa. It maybe be analogous to an Indian Test match, in that it's not only the usual sports fans, but everyone watching TV. While the men watch the match, many of the women are paying more attention to the commercials.
> Another curious characteristic of the Super Bowl is that, for some people, the commercials are the main event. A 30-second spot sells for millions of dollars (or crores of rupees) and so every company that buys time is vying to air their most memorable, outrageous, inspiring and funniest ads. Oftentimes, especially if the match is lacklustre, this is what will be discussed on Monday morning.
> At half-time there is a musical performance. This year's artist is కాటి పెర్రీ.
> The NFL is huge, bringing in billions of dollars (thousands of crores of rupees) annually.
> You can apparently stream the match on their website. http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/49/live/watch-free-live-stream-online In the past the league has trumpeted how widely watched this game is and included Hindi in the list of dozens of languages it's broadcast in, but I've yet to figure out who carries హిందుస్తానీ commentary.
> Probably every single public venue you can find with a television - especially ones that serve food or drink - will be showing the match. I bet even Indian restaurants will have it on. :)
> Grab a bag of Doritos and enjoy a uniquely American spectacle!
NZL 74 USA 6 F
I wasn’t even drunk and I gave a random guy at a bus stop a dollar for correctly answering/reminding me the national currency of El Salvador. But, even though it sounded right, of course it’s not the quetzal—El Salvador dollarized over a decade ago! I had even been thinking about their domestically struck U.S. dollar coinage earlier, but blanked when I tried to remember their currency.
I want to find that dude and get my dollar back! Justice must be served!!!
I made a mixtape for an online friend last night, who’s from South America. I included a Julieta Venegas song, yeah, ’cause it’s in Spanish, to show how fucking worldly I am, and she (the friend, not Julieta Venegas) asked me if I really liked Venegas or I just included her for the friend’s benefit. I didn’t answer and just rolled my eyes (how the fuck I’m gonna put shit I don’t like on my own mix??) but when she inquired further I told her I really enjoyed the first couple records but the later stuff seemed pretty by-numbers and didn’t do much for me (ain’t that always the way?). I mentioned the absolute front-to-back consistency of side 2 of “Aquí” and she said she wasn’t really familiar with the record (I think she’s one of those download-tracks-randomly iPod listeners *shudder*). So I included a link along with the following note.
I don't really listen to much rock en español. Most of it is Maná/Jaguares-like schlock. But an old girlfriend's boss was apparently REALLY into it – despite not speaking Spanish (I'll get into the exoticization and romanticization of Latin America by U.S. liberals some other time). And around the time Venegas' first record came out, her boss had tickets to see her play the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, but couldn't go. So she gave the tickets to my then-girlfriend, who asked me if I wanted to see this rock en español act. Sure, why not? I figured, but didn't really have high hopes. Some of it was so-so, but some of it, I thought, was actually really good! I remember in the late '90s, some guy had a fanpage up with three MP3s that I downloaded – "Antes", "Verdad", and "Esta vez". I kind of listened to the shit out of those before actually getting the album.
There are a few weaker tracks on side 1, but side 2 is pretty much solid the whole way through. (OK, one or two of those interludes is maybe unneeded, but they don't really hurt the momentum that bad.) Some parts remind me of Tori, who of course I also love – she's playing and singing her fuckin' ass off, which is what's missing from most smarmy pop music. (Even when Adele sings about cursi shit she REALLY MEANS IT.) But of course, that isn't really the whole of it – the songwriting is really good, too. You can find a live clip of her at some rich girls' college on YouTube, where she calls the chord progression of "Casa abandonada" a "trabalenguas." You can't really find many musical trabalenguas in commercial pop – it's all pretty familiar and predictable if you're familiar with the Western canon.