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Just to clarify, that last post was wholly invented. I still do not have a cellphone.

I have, however, been thinking a about ringtones a lot in the last two days, trapped, as I am, in a jury holding area with 200-odd other Seattlites. When you take a random sampling of the population these days, you also get a random sampling of ringtones, and I've been treated to snippets from everything from rock to pop to classical to Star Trek sound effects.

I find it funny that people don't change their ringtones for certain occasions. The same guy who gets all dressed up in a suit and tie to jury duty thinks nothing of arriving with a cellphone set to "Quacking Duck."

Posted on August 23, 2007 to Observations


Here in Philly they make you check your cell phone before you enter the jury holding area. I only spent a half day there this past February, but I was so grateful for the cell phone ban.

Posted by: juliloquy on August 23, 2007 1:36 PM

Hilarious: I just came here to make the exact same comment that Juliloquy just made. More evidence that we visit all the same places, just at slightly different times. :-)

Posted by: Lori on August 23, 2007 2:03 PM

I do change my ringtone based on occasion. If I'm wearing a suit, I usually use the one I like to call "vibrate". However my default is the A-Team theme song. And for classier things, I use a recording of an actual old-school phone ring.

Posted by: Morydd on August 23, 2007 2:05 PM

I fully support your bid to be the last person without a cell phone.

Posted by: Rob Cockerham on August 23, 2007 2:44 PM

I hate ringtones. If you're wearing your phone, why would you ever choose not to use vibrate mode? Spraying the area with disruptive announcements of your personal correspondence is like not covering your mouth when sneezing. It's uncivilized behavior.

Posted by: Pat on August 23, 2007 3:14 PM

My cube neighbor has a Motorola cell with the "hello moto" ringtone. Loud. I must bow to it.

So I ritually look up and mouth the words when I know they're coming. ("All hail Motorola!") One of these days he's gonna notice me doing it and I don't have a good explanation yet.

Posted by: Rabid Child on August 23, 2007 3:21 PM

You know, I'm slightly disappointed "Hotel California" isn't your favorite song. If for no other reason then I can't respond, in the immortal words of one J. Lebowski, "I hate the fuckin' Eagles, man."

Posted by: Rebecca on August 23, 2007 4:21 PM

Aha, jury duty! I had wondered where you had finally found the time to update this old blog. Thank god for our legal system!

Posted by: wolfe on August 23, 2007 4:24 PM

I was in a meeting, one of the suits cellular went off and it was the Tarzan call. He got up and walked out, Tarzan still wailing away. We all laughed when he was gone.

Second one, the board was in a room having a meeting, the door burst open, a board member ran past us, his phone beeping the Hi-Oh Silver theme song. He walked out the back door, I asked, "Who was that masked man?"

Posted by: Wickwire on August 23, 2007 5:01 PM

A contractor I once hired had the beginning of "Crazy Train" as his ringtone. His phone went off in my kitchen with Ozzy going, "All abooooard! Ha-ha-ha ..." Unfortunately, he answered before Ozzy got to the "ai-ai-ai" part.

That was cool.

Posted by: MarkDM on August 23, 2007 6:00 PM

I stand by using functional variation on ringtones - as in have a different ringtone per category of people. So my friends get the "Na, nah na na na na, nah nah, na Katamari Damacy", my business contacts get various pirate-themed songs (no good reasons, but pirates seem appropriate), and all others get some form of default ring.

Posted by: Lemur on August 23, 2007 6:05 PM

Never mind the ring tones: Why don't people realize that the e-mail address they chose as teen-agers might not be appropriate for professional use?

I've learned that my correspondents spent high school, um, dating (e-mails like "macplaya88" and "sexydiva") consuming pop culture ("spideyfan") and being incredible, pasty-faced geeks ("ronin1234" and "morpheus2000")

Face it: When you get your own place, you need to get a grown-up e-mail address to go with it.

Posted by: Carny Asada on August 23, 2007 6:08 PM

I work for an opera company, and my primary ringer is Jill Scott's "golden." The double takes alone are totally worth it.

Posted by: rahree on August 23, 2007 6:13 PM

As life-long Red Sox fans, my husband and I were of course wildly relieved and excited when they finally won the World Series in 2004. What does this have to do with ring tones? My husband's ringtone is the final play of Game 4 of the 2004 World Series - the announcer calling the out and announcing the Red Sox victory. He never gets tired of hearing it and it always gets a laugh!

Posted by: Chris on August 23, 2007 6:20 PM

I'm a police officer, and my ringtone is the theme tune to "The Muppets". - pretty much a 50/50 split between "wholly inappropriate" and "bang on" depending on the situation... ;)

Posted by: David Way on August 23, 2007 7:15 PM

I don't have a cell phone, either, and YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!! But I have considered acquiring an old cell phone, and putting blood-curdling screams on as the ringtone. I could rig it so I could be interrupted by a 'call' when people are bugging me, e.g. when they are blabbing on their cell phones in my presence.

Posted by: Mary on August 23, 2007 7:48 PM

Since I always keep my phone in my pocket, I always have it on vibrate. For the rare times that it's set to ring, I have Andrew WK's "Ready to Die"

Posted by: Brendan on August 23, 2007 10:22 PM

Wait a minute! You have a 3-year old son and the Queen lets you away with NOT having a cellphone? My life was blissfully cellphone free until our kid was born and then my wife bought me one and practically stapled it to my leg. Fatherhood for me is about being on call 24/7. How the Hell do you get away with it?

Posted by: Lung the Younger on August 24, 2007 2:48 AM
I hate ringtones. If you're wearing your phone, why would you ever choose not to use vibrate mode?

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but:
"So that I stand a chance of noticing it ringing in anything but a lecture hall".

Posted by: Andrew on August 24, 2007 4:15 AM

My ring tone has always been and will always be the theme to Super Mario Brothers. It helps notify all males within earshot that I am totally cool and they should probably date me.

Posted by: zeekster on August 24, 2007 7:44 AM

My phone is on vibrate 90% of the time. There is no one I hate more than self important pricks who judge their worthiness by the amount of time they spend on their cell.

That being said, the other 10% my phone is on a normal ring setting. I have been trying obbessivly to download John Digweed's "Heaven Scent" but it's just not available ANYWHERE. I've even called Cingular to try and file a request. Nope, didn't work. Is there a way for me to get it to my phone from my CD? Help!

Posted by: Agent Scully on August 24, 2007 8:40 AM

I've reasonably certain that the first 20-odd seconds of "This Must Be The Place" by the Talking Heads is easily in the top 0.001% of pop music ringtones.

Posted by: Sean on August 24, 2007 8:47 AM

"I hate ringtones. If you're wearing your phone, why would you ever choose not to use vibrate mode? Spraying the area with disruptive announcements of your personal correspondence is like not covering your mouth when sneezing. It's uncivilized behavior."

Hear here! Fully agreed. It's almost as bad as when people talk on the cell phone and drive (poorly). My phone is on vibrate unless it's plugged in at home (in which case I use the old school MNF song as my generic ringer).

"Is there a way for me to get it to my phone from my CD?"

I can do it for my motorola with the motorola phone tools software (cheap used) and a cable (also cheap).

Posted by: Nathan on August 24, 2007 10:06 AM

I heard the best way to get out of jury duty is put your feet up on someone's desk.

Posted by: Anon on August 24, 2007 11:12 AM

I have different ringtones for different people. For a period of time several years ago, my future husband was having some passing out issues so I made his ringtone ambulance sirens. Fortunately, he thought it was good comic relief and then the passing out issues resolved and all was well.

Posted by: La Merkerita on August 24, 2007 11:39 AM

Ah, I was wondering when I saw you at Magic Mouse why you were in my part of town. Luckily there are many fun things to do next to the court house.

Posted by: planetheidi on August 24, 2007 1:11 PM

I tend to cut up random sound clips from movies, etc. and use those depending on my situation.

Nothing is more effective in getting some elbow room in a crowded elevator than a loud 'squeeeeel like a pig!'.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your stance) my smart phone has taken to riding the short bus recently and can't seem to keep my ringtones act properly.

Posted by: MBCBUYB on August 24, 2007 3:10 PM

I've tried plenty of others, but I just keep coming back to Lil' Kim's "The Jump-Off". Call me a romantic.

Posted by: Eamon on August 24, 2007 4:46 PM

I shot the sherif (Bob Marley) = empaneling immunity

Posted by: Ben Hyde on August 24, 2007 6:37 PM

If you like Hotel California, go to iTunes and listen to Creol Napfény's rendition. The intro is a killer.

Uh, just checked it out and you can't hear the intro unless you buy the song...........it's worth it.

Posted by: jeanette harris on August 26, 2007 8:06 AM

May I suggest: iTunes General Sounds album by Columbia River Entertainment.

The selection is broad--from birds chirping, barking dogs to running footsteps. Now THERE's some great ringtone ideas. The mind boggles.

Toilet flush?
Bell Toll?
Burgler Alarm?

And one of my favorites, Chainsaw.

Posted by: Jeanette Harris on August 26, 2007 9:28 AM

Why can't more people have a cell phone ringtone that's more akin to "ring."

Why is it that I can be standing in line somewhere and when a few bars of "Ode to Joy" play, half the room reaches for their phones.

Posted by: Thomas on August 26, 2007 7:20 PM

A cow-orker of mine had that "Hello Moto" "ringtone". Whenever it rang at coffeetime, it would almost inevitably be his wife. We took to calling it his "talking leash" (the phone, that is, and not his wife).

Posted by: Pat J on August 26, 2007 9:15 PM

Right now, I've got the Car "Let's Go." I enjoy it because it's the snippet of the chorus where there is clapping and the words, "I like the NIGHT LIFE BABY!" Totally appropriate for the grocery store and PTA meetings.

Posted by: Velma on August 27, 2007 4:00 AM

Ah yes, the ringtone is the greatest invention since caller ID. Just like Lemur, I have different ringtones for just about everybody. I don't even have to pick up the phone and look at it at anymore to see if I want to answer it. I can just tell by the ring. So if you hear "three little pigs" by Green Jelly and the person does not answer their phone, you know it's my phone and somebody I want to talk to is calling.

Posted by: MrF on August 27, 2007 12:04 PM