Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fuck you, phone monkeys!

For the last four days, I have been waking up at stupid o'clock every morning, trudged my arse through morning traffic to QUT and produced various news stories for the uni's radio station.

I would like to vehemently state that I want to be a print or online journalist and want no part in this broadcasting tomfoolery whatsoever. Please feel free to slap me over the head with a novelty-sized giant fish if I ever say, "I think I'll go for a radio job..."

(I'm listening to my own story on the radio at the moment. I'm doing the entertainent wrap-up but I sound like I'm reading a eulogy).

Anyway, enough of my lack of radio prowess and the fact that I don't sound like Sandra Sully. I would like to talk about phone monkeys.

My news stories were written at the very last minute, making deadline (or not) by a hair. A nose hair.

It wasn't because I'm a slow writer (or slow in the brain even). It was because it would take at least two hours to finally get someone on the phone.

Here's how 95% of my interviewing went...

Phone monkey: Hello?

Me: Hello, I'm Ellie from QUT News and 4EB radio. I'm putting together a story on cheese smuggling and was wondering if I could talk to the Minister of Cheese.

Phone monkey: What is this about?

Me: Cheese smuggling

Phone monkey: For who?

Me: QUT News and 4EB radio.

Phone monkey: He's in a meeting.

Me: Oh... do you know when it will be finished?

Phone monkey: No. But I can put you through to our media representative.

Me: Okay, sure.

Ring ring...ring ring...

Media representative: Hello, Captain Twat, media representative of Twat Enterprises, how may I help you?

Me: Hello, I'm Ellie from QUT News, blah blah blah.

Media representative: I'm busy. Can I call you back?

Me: Sure, our phone number is blah blah blah. If you could call back before 11 o'clock (before deadline, you smarmy motherfucker) that would be great.

Media representative: Okay, sure.

Many hours later, ten minutes before the story is going to air and after I've picked a completely new story altogether...

Ring ring... ring ring...

Me: Hello QUT News, Ellie speaking.

Media representative: Hello, it's Captain Twat here. I'm ringing you back to tell you that I don't want to be interviewed.

Me: ... great. Bye.

And this happened even, I shit you not, when I was putting together the entertainment wrap-up. I went through a secretary and two media representatives before I got onto one fellow who said that he was not allowed to be quoted to the media. Considering that all I wanted to ask was what was happening at the museum this weekend, I find it all to be a bit ridiculous.

The only times I got a good interview was when I somehow managed to get a hold of the source's direct line and talked to them first, without the secretaries and PR bastards in the way telling me that everybody I want to talk to is overseas, interstate, in a meeting, or can't talk to the media. Even then, this one woman I talked to was so sour and grumpy (because talking about farmers' markets is a sensitive topic apparently) that I didn't end up using her grab for fear of her voice destroying the souls of anybody who listened to it.

So, fuck you phone monkeys.

Thankyou for making my job harder.
Thankyou for telling me I can read what your CEO said on your website, even though I just told you I'm doing a radio news story and need an interview.
Thankyou for being an absolute bitch for no reason. I hope you tell your boss about it and he fires you on the spot for not letting him talk on radio.
But mainly, thankyou for inspiring me to seek news stories from community groups, activists, and real people in the future rather than go through the bullshit of bureaucracy at a government level.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's a book for your face.

Ah, facebook. I got one last year because a friend of mine wanted to show me some photos. For some reason I could only view them on facebook. Go figure. And my facebook profile was born.

Facebook is an endless source of amusement. Not because I play Dope Wars or send sheep to people or whatever, but for the social aspect of it all. That news feed tells you everything, from where people went on the weekend to if their relationship is complicated or not. Fascinating.

Here are some things that amuse me about facebook:

1. The hot friend in the profile photos
I have most of the girls in my grade added to facebook. There is one particular girl who was rather popular back in the day (and still is I suppose). Pretty and smart, heaps of people wanted to be her friend. So I couldn't help but giggle when I noticed that about five or so girls on facebook had this particular girl in their profile picture. Perhaps they were hoping they would appear pretty and popular by default? Or maybe some random facebook babe would add them? That would be a strange conversation.

"You look beautiful in that photo."
"Oh, why thankyou."
"You have really cool blonde hair."
"Oh, no, that's my friend. I'm the fatter, greasier, pimplier, less attractive one on the left."

2. Passive-aggressive status updates
I saw one the other day saying something like, "[name] wishes SOMEONE would get off their lazy arse". I have a hunch that the person they were talking about was their housemate. Who is on their friends list and, via the News Feed function, would have seen it.

I now realise that this entire entry (nay, this entire blog really) is pretty passive-aggressive in itself. But that's okay, because I'm a dirty hypocrite.

3. Um, who are you again?
I occasionally get a friend request from someone I have never seen in my life. On closer inspection and a bit more stalking, I usually find out that we have a very tenuous link - usually
that we went to the same school but weren't in the same year and never once spoke to each other or socially interacted in any way.

Why? I just don't understand. Why would you want to communicate with someone who was two years above you in school? It's bad enough when girls in my grade add me, and they're people who I either didn't talk to or thought I was a freak. Ah, the joys of an angsty youth...

4. Facebook addicts who are obviously new at using the internet.
There was a fellow who added me a while back. He was a regular at my work. Anyway, I had to end up deleting him because I had about 200 requests from him to grow plants, send chocolate, take sexy quizzes etc. And then there were all those SuperPokes. Innappropriately dirty ones too, which was a bit worrying. On closer inspection, I realised that he sent the same things to everybody on his friends list.

What's the point? If I had accepted all of his requests, my profile probably would have crashed and the internet would have exploded. It's not cute or fun to do 200 facebook things; it's annoying. I use facebook to send messages, upload photos, play poker and stalk people. That's it. I really cannot be bothered to join a facebook mafia or race cars or grow teddy bears or whatever.

5. Friendship: DELETED
You know you've really pissed someone off in this day and age when they delete you from their friends list. OH NO! Now who will I throw Pokemon at?

And I haven't even gotten started on myspace. It's more or less the same really, though you tend to see more passive-aggressive bulletins. And more weird friend requests. Please enjoy viewing this person, who attempted to start a myspace friendship with me.

Past posts