Archive for the ‘Robot Humor’ Category

Covid-19 Vaccine Adventures (2-Verse Limerick Plus Vaccine Scheduling Tips)

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

What follows is:

1: A two-verse limerick about my adventures (and difficulties) in booking Covid-19 vaccine appointments in New York City for hubby Mark and me. (And yes, we both easily qualify by age.)

2: A blow by blow description of how I finally managed to snag vaccine appointments in the doesn’t-deserve-to-be-called-a-system New York Covid-19 vaccine scheduling “system.”

(I hope that the information I provide below my 2-verse limerick proves helpful to those who are having similar vaccine-booking problems, both in and outside of New York.)

Fin’lly got my first shot. So did Mark,
After problems with booking them — stark!
New York’s issue-packed system
(too many to list ’em)
Is so bad, I have fantasies — dark.

So how did I schedule our shots
In a system so tied up in knots?
“Push notifications”
Resolved our frustrations;
We were saved by some fine Twitter bots.

If you’re having problems booking Covid-19 vaccine appointments, here’s how I did it in New York City. I hope it helps you too. (Even if you live in another state, some of my info just might be applicable to you.)

1. After trying all the obvious methods for booking vaccine appointments, and failing abysmally, I searched Google to find out if anybody had created a Covid-19 vaccine appointment locator bot in New York. I used search phrases such as covid-19 vaccine New York bot and Covid-19 vaccine New York tracker bot.

This led me to these two Twitter accounts: @turbovax and @nycshotslots. (If you are having trouble getting a vaccination appointment outside of New York, try a similar search for your own state. And if you’re lucky, a Good Samaritan in your city or state created a comparable public bot. For example, this bot was designed for New Jersey residents, and this one was set up for Massachusetts residents.)

2. I went to Twitter, searched for both accounts, and clicked on “follow.” (I was already active on Twitter. However, if you’re not already a Twitter member, you’ll have to join it before benefiting from these or other Twitter bot accounts.)

3. For the next couple of weeks, I checked those New York bot Twitter accounts three or four times an hour. And from time to time, I actually found some potential appointments. Unfortunately, however, each time I went to snag a pair of appointments, I was already too late. This happened even when I started checking every five or ten minutes.

4. Finally, in desperation, I researched how to get “push notifications” from individual Twitter accounts. (In general, I hate and avoid push notifications. But this situation called for emergency measures!)

Fortunately, setting up Twitter push notifications on my laptop turned out to be very simple: All I had to do was return to the home pages of each of those two accounts I was already following (@turbovax and @nycshotslots) and click on the icon immediately to the left of the word “following.” (The icon looks like a bell with a plus sign.) Clicking on it turns on push notifications for that specific Twitter feed, and you’ll know it’s properly set up because after clicking on it, it will turn as dark blue as your “following” indicator button.

5. From then on, as long as I was near my laptop (and the sound was on) I’d hear a sound indicating that one of those two accounts had just tweeted. Additionally a visible notice would flash, then disappear very quickly.

6. As soon as I saw or heard one of those “push notifications” I headed to Twitter to read the latest bot tweets and see if it was for appointment locations/dates that might work for us. And the second I saw one that might be good, I clicked on the site, filled out the forms, and was able to successfully book appointments for both Mark and myself.

Even then, acting so swiftly, I ended up with appointments for us on consecutive days, and not the theoretically more desirable same day. But that actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because parking was impossible at that location (Hillcrest High School, Jamaica Queens, NY.)

So Mark and I took turns on consecutive appointment days, remaining in the driver’s seat, illegally parked in front of someone’s driveway with the blinkers on, ready to move the car at a moment’s notice, for as long as it took for the non-car-baby-sitter to get his/her shot.

Mark and I are both very relieved to have gotten our first shots and to have dates scheduled for our second shots. And I hope you too either have gotten (or will soon get) your Covid vaccine shots.

I also hope that you found this info helpful or, at least, enjoyed my limerick.

*****
FYI, here’s a non-Twitter New York State-wide bot that I haven’t tried, because I discovered it after booking our appointments.

Limerick Of Manners

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

My humorist pal Felice Prager had a birthday recently and, thanks to Facebook reminders, was receiving an extra large slew of birthday greetings. When she responded to mine, she joked about writing a limerick starting with the line: “The girl who said thank you a lot …” So of course, I did:

Limerick Of Manners
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The girl who said thank you a lot
Sure wanted to stop, but could not,
Cuz she knew it ain’t right
To stop acting polite.
So she purchased a thanks-giving bot.

A Robot Violinist That Plays Better Than Your Kid?

Friday, March 13th, 2009

I’ve heard some bad violinists in my day … especially back when I substitute-taught elementary school music classes. But amazingly enough, this robot violinist (while lousy, of course) is better than your average fifth grade violin student.

In honor of the robot violinist, I’ve written a double limerick:

A Robot Violinist That Plays Better Than Your Kid?
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Fanatics may think it’s a sin
For a robot to play violin.
But its tone ain’t as bad
As some students I’ve had.
In a contest with them, it would win.

Yes it’s weak in vibrato and phrasing.
But its rhythm and pitch are amazing.
So you’re robot averse —
I’m still sure you’ve heard worse.
And if not, I shall brace for the hazing.

Wine Tasting Robots, Oh My!

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

Would you trust a wine tasting robot? What about a robot that thinks humans taste like bacon? (Via Majikthise)

Wine Tasting Robots, Oh My! (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane 

Wine tasting robots, oh my!
It’s a concept that some might not buy.
Yet men oft opine
Quite ineptly on wine.
So perhaps I shall give one a try.

What Do People Taste Like?
By Madeleine Begun Kane 

What do people taste like?
I surely do not know.
A cannibal might tell you,
Or the artist Vin Van Gogh.

Maybe we’re like chicken,
Or tuna in a can.
No, it’s “bacon,” says one robot.
Did it taste a Jewish man?

(You can find my food and drink humor here.)