The fallout from being involved in the Murdoch blogging competition of last year [which that horrid wench Jess Eaton won (a note, I'm a friend and fellow radio dork with Jess, so I'm allowed to call her a horrid wench, also, a slattern, trollop, scarlet jezebel, and a fast young woman)] is that I'm now an "endorsed" Murdoch blogger. This means I get traffic to my blog and a $200 voucher to the Murdoch bookshop...
I'm so going to buy a lifetime supply of the greatest pen in the world.
Now, I don't normally indulge in "rants", but I gotta vent on a particular issue. Like so many issues in a students life, it has to do with Centrelink [Australia's welfare organisation, for my international homies]. I'm in Finland at the moment, on a special international exchange, a situation that makes Centrelink more than a little antsy. I had to get the chair of my program back home to write a letter about what the GEJI scholarship is to be used for. Once obtained, I called up Centrelink on skype to see how I can email it to them. The following conversation is virtually verbatim.
"Hi, my name is Ben Ainslie, I was wondering what the email address is to mail you guys a document that you need from me"
"You have to fax it."
"No but it's been given to me via email. So if I could just send it to one of you guys..."
"We don't do that."
"But... why not?"
"Because it's so easy to forge things on the computer."
"I'm sorry, I was just thinking about how to respond to that. You guys want me to print out this digital document, and then fax it, because that will be more secure?"
"*The sound of my brain doing a backflip and then exploding* may I have the fax number that I can call from Finland?"
"Oh, uh, I don't think there is an international fax number, just try the normal one."
"Thank you for your help"
So now I've got to track down a fax machine in Finland. To put this in perspective, the fax machine was created in a time when the graceful pterodactyl still gyred in the skies. From what I understand it was invented sometime after fire, and some time before the concept of universal suffrage.
Now, I've never used a fax machine before. Ever. Do you put the document in first and then dial, or the other way round? Do you have to listen for an automated message that will ask you a series of riddles, of progressive difficulty? And where am I going to put the virgin blood that no doubt powers these arcane devices... not to mention that my voodoo dancing skills have really lapsed in the last few years, ya know?
And I have to find one of these machines in Finland. This nation is the home of the most successful mobile telephone manufacturer in the world, Nokia. Ancient telephonic instruments don't exactly hang around in this country, I'm basically looking for a telegraph bipper in the headquarters of Google.
What I love most of all though, is the mental image of some dank, pipe laden, basement in the bottom of a shabby building. Dark ranks of hulking facsimile machines spewing out an unending stream of documents attesting to the voracity of the work ethic of Branden McGee's and Dwayne Paulsons's. Shuffling gholum like attendants ripping off segments of feed and filing them in some kind of cavernous storage centre.
I found one though, and a man [who no doubt has his own industry specific honorary title, like Deacon, or Headmaster] tasked with the negotiation required to manipulate this foul device, and we managed to get it humming and whirring to our collective bidding, the parlays with the ancients having taken place.
Seriously, fax machines, you guys are dicks.