SORDID CONFESSIONS

HOTMAIL SUCKS SO I HAD TO CHANGE TO GMAIL, WHICH ALSO SUCKS

A few years ago, I wrote a piece for CRANK entitled EMAIL IS JUST EMAIL OK. I explained why I still had a Hotmail email address, against all the advice of my hipster friends, administration gurus, and IT professionals. It wasn’t so much that I vehemently argued for how great Hotmail was (let’s be frank, it really isn’t), but that I just couldn’t be arsed getting a Gmail account and I didn’t want to have Google RUN MY LIFE.

Last week, however, it was time to make a change.

It had been nine days since Hotmail’s POP3 servers had forwarded a single email to my iPhone. NINE. DAYS. A quick google (LOL) of the problem came up trumps, in part because Hotmail had just redesigned its Outlook platform and everything was different. I mean, why would you bother redesigning your whole platform WHEN YOU HAVE ABOUT 100 USERS LEFT IN THE WORLD? (Other than spammers). In fact it occurred to me that perhaps Hotmail did it intentionally to try and increase their advertising revenue. Because now, instead of being able to read your emails through Mac mail, you have to download their crappy app or, worse still, log on through your browser and then deal with headlines on msn.com such as 'Kaley Cuoco reveals her new look' and 'Is this the end of the McNugget?'

I can tell you now, ladies and gentlemen, it is NOT the end of the McNugget, but it is the end of Hotmail for me. What a stupid, glitchy, inoperable piece of s--t, and yes, I know I’m years behind the eight ball, but at least I saw the light eventually.

The fact I have now defected to Gmail, however, does not mean I think Gmail is great. Do you know how much tax Google paid in Australia in 2013? Less than $500,000. Let’s just let that figure sink in. And the fact that I had to google Google to get those tax stats just shows how terrible this situation really is.

Then, when I had to create a Gmail address, I laboured over what my email name should be (not least because most varieties of my very unusual name were already taken, oh the regret!). It was also because I was thinking: wait, this is the email address that will be tied to my entire Google profile, my youtube account, blog... will this be my 'forever' email name? Will I change my home address ten times, but never change email addresses again? Will I be trapped in the world of Google until I DIE? I nearly chose “f--kyougoogle@gmail.com” as my new email address. Fortunately I didn’t, because after I decided on my address I realised that you can NEVER CHANGE IT. [1]

As my techie friend told me, 'welcome to the dark side…'

CHANLET B, MELBOURNE

  1. This is, however, a great thing for feminism. No taking of the husband’s surname in Gmail land!
The dark side. Our digital future, in which we bind ourselves to Mammon (aka Google), as it sucks the lifeblood from the world. For ever. [An angel leading a soul into hell. Oil painting by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch, c 1540. Wellcome Images L0030887]

The dark side. Our digital future, in which we bind ourselves to Mammon (aka Google), as it sucks the lifeblood from the world. For ever. [An angel leading a soul into hell. Oil painting by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch, c 1540. Wellcome Images L0030887]

UNSOLICITED ADVICE

INCANDESCENT RAGE

Hipsters are known for many things, but they do give the impression of being eco-conscious, what with their love of bicycles, single origin coffee and reuse of old junk. But I’m beginning to wonder if an impression is all it is, as fashionable venues have become the last refuge of the incandescent light bulb.

Now, this isn’t the only example of hipsters being less green than they seem: overseas flights to Brooklyn or Berlin emit way more carbon than a fixie could ever offset, almond milk is draining California’s water supplies, and gallons of beard oil are undoubtedly pouring into our waterways.

But today at least I’m most bothered by those decorative, ‘Edison’-style bulbs that dangle low over your dukkah egg and polenta soldiers. Because really, they contribute nothing other than appearance. The appearance, apparently, of resisting new-fangled, soulless, Nobel Prize-winning, high-efficiency technology.

It’s all about retro, and the old-fashioned look that Thomas Edison—the Steve Jobs of his day—first made popular in the late 19th century.

Now, this is ironic when you consider that hipsters are normally so fiercely pro-Tesla, but perhaps that’s trumped by the whole steampunk vibe, that longing for the good old days of child labour and cholera. Frankly though, if you absolutely must show off your Victorian values, I’d rather you stick to something safe like gluing cogs to your top hat.

Because the trouble is that incandescent bulbs are pretty much the most inefficient form of electric lighting you can think of. If you remember your high school physics, wasted energy ends up as heat—and the more inefficient a system is, the less useful work it does for the amount of heat it produces.

But incandescent bulbs start with heat, in the hope that simply by making enough of it you’ll get some visible light out.

It’s no wonder then that they’ve been superseded by such things as curly-tubed compact fluorescents—which somehow never seemed to catch on with decorators—and light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, which can be made to look as pretty as you want.

LEDs are semiconductor devices that give off light when electrons fall into 'holes', i.e. atoms that are short on electrons. If you don’t understand what that means, then all you need to know is that they’re so elegant and efficient that they won their creators last year’s Nobel Prize in Physics.

Possibly by now you’re thinking, hang on, I’ve heard something about this—didn’t they ban those old-fashioned bulbs? Well yes they did—sort of.

In 2007, then Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Australia would be the first country in the world to phase out incandescent bulbs. And since 1 October 2012 you can no longer buy 'fancy' lamps (their terminology) that use more than 25 watts of power.

That 25 watt limit seems to have been put in to allow for small, decorative lamps for which people would have struggled to buy bulbs, but which use so little power that no one really cared.

Except that left a loophole big enough to drive a food van through. Limited supply creates increasing demand, and suddenly bam! Everyone now wants to buy 25 watt bare bulbs: classic hipster capitalism.

Being so inefficient, these bulbs produce very little light for the energy they use. I went down to my local lighting shop to check the specs: a multi-filament, 25 watt Edison bulb is rated to give off only 90 lumens (a lumen is a measure of the total power output in visible light; your typical candle emits about 12.5 lumens).

By comparison, you can buy faux-Edison LED bulbs—or as I like to call them, LEDison bulbs—that use only 5.5 watts and emit 400 lumens. That’s roughly 20 times more efficient, for something that basically looks the same anyway so why buy the inefficient one?

The incandescent bulbs are so dim (like their owners, ha!), you need a lot of them to light your “warehouse space”. And they add up. Two bulbs, totalling 50 watts, use the same power as running a small TV (an LED one, of course), or even my kitchen fridge (based on its star-rating sticker that claims only 463 kilowatt-hours used per year). I repeat, A FRIDGE.

Now, there is a case to be made that we shouldn’t put the onus on individuals to solve climate change, and that large-scale political action is the way to go. After all, the ozone layer was saved by government bans on chlorofluorocarbons, not by people choosing not to spray Louie the Fly.

However, I think the problem of Edison bulbs proves the opposite. The government already tried to ban them, but hipsters found a loophole and used it because they like the look of them. And maybe to stick it to the man, with the man here being, I don’t know, Al Gore perhaps, or Nobel laureate Shuji Nakamura (or possibly Malcolm Turnbull, but I doubt it because hipsters seem to love him).

There is a loophole to the loophole however, with the government rules allowing for a future ban on incandescent bulbs below 25 watts, depending on the availability of suitable replacements.

Until that happens though, I’m going to take it on myself to shame hipster restaurants, cafes and shops that use multiple Edison bulbs for lighting, with the hashtag #IncandescentRage. 

Sure they’re legal, but don’t pretend you’re being environmentally friendly while using them.

@ASTROCAVE, MELBOURNE

Other fashions coming to a hip cafe near you, soon. After 1. the fancy lamp, expect 2. scarves on chair backs (assuming there are chairs, not just milk crates) and 3. straw toilet tidies (Aesop hand soap is SO 2014). Next there'll be 4. drapes for the piano—singing round the piano is back, didn't you know?—and more stuff to make poky toilets seem posh, such as 5. toilet table drapery and 6. hanging sachets. You'll find 7. an ornamental footstool under the laminate table to go with your milk crate. Or maybe instead of your milk crate. Look to 8. your leaf wall pocket for the cocktail, toast soldier and cereal menu and recline on your 9. sofa pillow while you remove your crochet from 10. a receptacle for fancy work, provided for your convenience, and please use the complimentary 11. roll pin cushion while you're at it. ['Suggestions for household decoration'. Wood engraving, 5 May 1886. Australasian sketcher. Melbourne: Alfred Martin Ebsworth. State Library of Victoria, A/S05/05/86/69].

Other fashions coming to a hip cafe near you, soon. After 1. the fancy lamp, expect 2. scarves on chair backs (assuming there are chairs, not just milk crates) and 3. straw toilet tidies (Aesop hand soap is SO 2014). Next there'll be 4. drapes for the piano—singing round the piano is back, didn't you know?—and more stuff to make poky toilets seem posh, such as 5. toilet table drapery and 6. hanging sachets. You'll find 7. an ornamental footstool under the laminate table to go with your milk crate. Or maybe instead of your milk crate. Look to 8. your leaf wall pocket for the cocktail, toast soldier and cereal menu and recline on your 9. sofa pillow while you remove your crochet from 10. a receptacle for fancy work, provided for your convenience, and please use the complimentary 11. roll pin cushion while you're at it. ['Suggestions for household decoration'. Wood engraving, 5 May 1886. Australasian sketcher. Melbourne: Alfred Martin Ebsworth. State Library of Victoria, A/S05/05/86/69].


CRAZY TALK

RADIO CRANK: THIS SONG IS THE BEST SONG OH YES IT IS

What's your favourite song? Like, of all time? I know I know, it's hard to pin down. You’re finding it hard to choose between Justin Timberlake’s Rock your body or Beyonce’s Halo, aren’t you?

Well, don't worry, I can solve your dilemma. The best song in the world is…

U2’s Gloria.

Oh stop it with your howls of derision. You know it’s true. It’s just that somewhere between about 1989 and 2015 U2 became ‘uncool’, and you feel all embarrassed to admit it. Well, it’s not Bono’s fault people keep giving him money to express his opinion in music documentaries. It’s not The Edge’s fault that having a name that starts with ‘the’ is no longer de rigueur—that’s down to us, baby. It’s not Adam’s fault we all worry a bit if he is OK. (I hope he’s OK). It’s not Larry’s fault that because he is the most reliable drummer in the whole world there is never any U2 drummer scandal to talk about. [1]

Grow a spine and try to speak up!

Listen to it, man. This song kicks all other songs out of the water, hooks itself up to a couple of great white sharks and then water skis down the line of a massive wave, up a giant water funnel and into the sun. It’s got guts! It’s got feeling! It is unashamedly earnest!

You, with all your snark and cynicism and liking things ‘ironically’—secretly you know it: you are shallow, unhappy, unfulfilled; forever and frantically chasing the next thing nobody’s ever heard of. You YEARN for a thrilling guitar riff, a thumping beat and some god-damn PASSION.

You also know that if you put Bono in a kind of vocal Thunderdome he would pulverise the rest. He wouldn’t even need a bouncy harness and a chainsaw to do it. He’d just stand in the middle of the arena and… feel. Two voices in, one voice out! (Bono’s [2]). Bono’s voice would blast all others away like the ghostie people who came out of the Ark of the Covenant, straight into the hereafter. Straight to God (or his downstairs colleague), because U2 is God’s band (Gloria...in te domine/ Gloria...exultate) and He’s on their side.

Now I’m not saying you’ll be turned into a pillar of salt if you don’t admit U2’s Gloria is the best song ever, because if the Christian God does exist I would prefer to believe He really does allow free will and would even let you play Supertramp’s Greatest Hits on repeat without divine punishment [3], but as I cannot know the unknowable I’ll just put it out there that it’s a possibility. [4]

Oh Lord, if I had anything… listen to it…feel it…splash some paint on your best jeans and cut the arms of your tshirt… open that door and let U2 back into your heart.

ALICE CANNON, MELBOURNE (@PINKNANTUCKET)

  1. I mean, would it kill him to blow up his kit live on stage or throw a television out a hotel window once in while?
  2. Tina Turner would naturally remain the mistress of vocal Thunderdome, so we will never know who would win that battle.
  3. Actually I am lying, you should suffer for eternity for that. 
  4. Yes yes I know that if you just pretend to think Gloria is the best song of all time He will know because he is omniscient—that just means you’re going to have to try really hard. NB: I don’t think U2 is as religious as they were at the start of their career so it is possible Gloria has moved down a bit in God’s ‘Current Favourites’ playlist.

UNSOLICITED ADVICE

IS THAT COW POO OR A WRITTEN REPORT IT'S HARD TO TELL

A regular correspondent has sent in some friendly grammatical and other advice prepared for those who must engage in the sorry task of writing reports. It really is very friendly—not even vaguely sarcastic or passive-aggressive—in fact so friendly it was almost unsuitable for publication in CRANK. But, as this is CRANKENGRAMMAR month, we'll allow it.

A comic can certainly take the sting out of criticism, so if you're passing this on to a colleague make sure to passively aggressively tape it to the front of their computer monitor and underline some bits emphatically with red pen.

(From @SAIDHANRAHAN, VICTORIA)

UNSOLICITED ADVICE

TRY TO DO IT THIS WAY, BUSTER

I want to pass on a favourite grammar crank of my dear departed Mum.

That is, 'I will try and convey her feelings about this phrase', which is so commonly used in place of 'I will try to convey her feelings about this phrase'.

While it is not logically inconsistent to both ‘try’ and ‘and’ something I think almost everybody understands what they are doing is more of the nature of ‘try to’.

It is a shame my Mum was not able to cure the world of that suboptimal expression but she was certainly able to instil an aversion to the ‘try and’ expression in me. Far be it from me to try to pass that on to you, dear reader, but...

R WALLER, OTTAWA

Look, we're not saying you should do it our way, but...you should do it our way. 'The police of the world "running in" an editor'. Wood engraving from Police news, 5 August 1876, Melbourne. State Library of Victoria accession number PN05/08/76/00.

Look, we're not saying you should do it our way, but...you should do it our way. 'The police of the world "running in" an editor'. Wood engraving from Police news, 5 August 1876, Melbourne. State Library of Victoria accession number PN05/08/76/00.