Friday, March 29, 2013

The LG Optimus L3 E400 - A Phone So Bad It Needs Its Own Awareness Ribbon

I'm going to start this review off with a backstory because like most great tragedies, the stage needs to be set. This is after all a historical piece. Back in September of last year, some junkie swiped my iPhone 4. I quickly logged onto iCloud, said three Hail Stevens, and remotely wiped and locked the device.

After that, I bolted down to the Optus store and made sure they blocked the IMEI. "Enjoy your aluminium doorstop, assholes!" I muttered as I went down to the Telstra shop in desperation. I was not expecting to buy a smartphone today. I needed internets on my train ride home or else babies were going to get kicked into woodchippers.

"I'm broke and cranky - I need your cheapest smartphone!" I haggardly exclaimed. The salesperson reluctantly showed me the LG Optimus L3. It ran Android, and hadn't caught fire yet. It was within my "2 Minute Noodles" budget, so I threw two fifties onto the counter and walked out with a new phone number and one of LG's budget smartphones. Optus wanted to charge me hundreds of dollars to replace the iPhone and aftet that I'd still be on the Optus network, so fuck those guys.

This was an experiment, I kept telling myself as I cracked open the box and pulled out all the bits. Once Wifey was off her contract we'd get ourselves shiny new Samsungs. It wouldn't be that bad.

Plastic Fantastic
The phone itself is, well, it's what you'd expect for $100 worth of smartphone. Cheap plastic, removeable battery, small screen. It comes with a 2GB micro SD card and a micro USB charger. It feels pretty good in the hand and is ridiculously light which I suppose is important if you're a preschooler or weak-wristed. I noticed as I was assembling the charger that the LG logo on it is actually the wrong way up.


Setup was your typical fare, with a new Android version available. Turns out 2.3 is new, huh. Some background process stopped working as I was settling in, but I put that down to bad luck. It took me less than five minutes to regret my purchase after I'd turned the thing on. Why, you ask? First things first: The screen.

It's Like A Car Crash
The screen is so bad that when the super crashy browser displays a webpage, the text and images are so incredibly pixelated that you're not actually sure what you're zooming into. The native resolution of this display is 320x240. That's right, even the world's shittiest quality Youtube video would stretch this display to the limit. Not like you'd actually be able to discern any detail however, because the colours are horrible and it's impossible to read in daylight conditions. Viewing angles any steeper than "dead on" will invert the colours, and at something around 124 pixels per inch... well, it's almost as if LG contracted engineers from North Korea to build the screen with their cutting-edge Soviet era technology. Thanks a lot, Juchebags.

To be fair, not everything about the screen is bad. It's a touchscreen, so I suppose it's got that going for it. In a nod to mental health professionals everywhere, LG have seen fit to bless the touchscreen sensors with bipolar disorder. Most of the time it's passable, but it'll occasionally swing from "sluggish" to "Tap Tap Revenge". Touch something once and it might launch something on the other side of the page. If you're lucky it'll double tap and launch into something you didn't even know was possible. Sometimes it'll swing the other way and only respond to your input every 1 in 4 tries.

Text is incomprehensible, and the keyboard takes up over half the screen.

But I'm Full
Onwards to the storage of this handset, and here's eleven syllables to get your heart racing: 157MB. That's all you've got to play with. Even if we were living in a magical land where it wasn't already half-filled with things like the OPERATING SYSTEM, that's goddamned paltry. Now with most smartphones you would probably have the option of say, moving your apps onto a micro SD card. Not here, my suddenly disgusted friend. You can download probably ten or so current day apps onto this korean brick of sorrow before it cries uncle and says it can't take anymore.

Look, I Make Photo
Next up is camera performance. Now the L3 only has a rear facing camera as you'd expect from a budget phone, but nothing, NOTHING can prepare you for what happens when you press the shutter. This is the worst camera phone I've used since the original Nokia models when cameras on our phones were a big deal. Images are tiny, grainy, and just plain embarrassing. To give you an approximation of the horror, I've prepared a nice little meditation exercise for you. I want you to sit in your chair, relax, and turn off the lights. If it's daytime, draw the curtains. Get the room as dark as possible. Now gently relax your eyes so everything is kind of blurry. You might notice your eyes begin to sting a little if you've going too cross-eyed, so aim for the sweet spot between 'out of focus' and 'full retard'. Once you're at a comfortable yet blurry stupor, squirt lemon juice in your eyes, stumble outside and jump into oncoming traffic. That's what using the camera is like.

This was in a well-lit room. Note the broken charger.

Handy Reset Function
Speaking of motor vehicle collisions, let's talk about crashing. Things you never knew existed will crash just to let you know they care. Everything you do will cause to phone to hang. \In fact, I regularly found myself having to reboot the phone due to the constant onslaught of stopping applications. Of course, rebooting the phone takes an eternity, so I found an alternative; skimming the phone across the table and having it explode into pieces on the ground. The phone might be made of flimsy plastic, but it's robust enough to survive repetitive punishment like this. The screen is plastic so it won't crack, plus it's a nice little stress reliever to watch the phone shatter into three pieces. Since the battery goes flying every time, it'll shut the phone down faster than the phone itself can do it. You'll likely find the phone breaking up like a North Korean missile test more than you'd hope for though, since the slightest bump can set it off.

The Users: Worse Than The Phone
To see if anyone else was talking about this product, I jumped online and had a read of those online forum efforts all the kids are raging about these days. Big mistake. It seems that the target market of this phone is the barely literate high school crowd. Out of hundreds of comments, 99% of them read like they were typed out by borderline-retarded Year 10 dropouts. Not surprisingly, most of the user reviews were glowing, likely to cover up the incredible case of buyer's remorse they each must feel.

"Its very user free phone...i m flng vry cmftble..u ppl can choose fr all types.." (Buyer is fighting heroin overdose)

"Luk lg izzz a very easy and a very comfortable phone its not just for the shape but it focuses on the properties." (luk LG izzz, but make sure you get your properties focused on.)

"i can definately say that .. ur peace is a defective one... vaise its a very gud phne,,,," (Take THAT, Korea!)

"Its a nice phone . I am using it from post 3 months . Worth for money . thanks LG" (It must suck to live in a world where you use your phone from post for an entire three months and you feel it's still worth for money..)

Some users to their credit realised that they were being conned, however they still struggle with putting their thoughts to text:
"This is a worst mobil becous it doesn't suport ani bigg apps even templerun and all and RAM memory is small processing speed also less compare to Samsung dues ..."

"i bought this pone before one week the main problem is all the apps are strucking please dont buy this phone" 

I mean, I guess I should be agreeing with these people, but, I just... What the fuck? If this is how the budget smartphone crowd communicate with each other, then never let me near a Vodafone outlet. Can you believe people bought this thing on a two year contract? Not that I condone violence, but I'm pretty sure you'll have a less punishing time spending 18 months in jail knocking out the guy that convinces you that this handset was a good idea.

Please, End This Torment
To be totally honest, it's not all bad news. the one and only thing that actually impressed me about this phone was its battery life. The thing just would not fucking die. I abuse the hell out of my smartphones on the way to and from work, and even though this phone took me back to 1998 in many ways, the one thing I do miss from that time is that phone batteries could last until the heat death of the universe. It's like the cow from Me, Myself & Irene.

I'm going to pepper you with friend requests until your heart gives out, you bastard!

However at the end of the day that's like saying that despite all the deaths it has caused, HIV/AIDS isn't all that bad because it gave us the Tom Hanks movie Philadelphia. It is a blight upon mobile phone networks the world over, and it reminds me that everytime I've bought an LG product recently I've totally regretted the purchase. Remember that these guys were the ones behind the Internet Fridge. Remember that? Me neither.

The LG Optimus L3 is the HIV/AIDS of 21st century mobile computing. The only way to combat its existence is through strong drugs and awareness. If you know someone who owns this phone, give them your support. If you are unfortunate enough to be stuck with this phone.... well, I tried to warn you. It is a travesty and downright offensive move by LG to even CONSIDER giving this phone the same name as one of my favourite robots.

I award this piece of shit no points, and may God have mercy on its soul.

- Amazing 320x240 display allowing you to play games from 1993 in native resolution

- 157MB of mostly prefilled internal storage allows you to download tens of your favourite apps

- Touchscreen display preempts double taps and swipes, sometimes without user input

- Battery lets your experience last for ages, in much the same way that World War II did

- Android 2.3 allows you to experience the very best of "This version of Android is not supported" errors

- 3MP camera realistically conveys images as experienced by the legally blind

- All plastic "come-apart" design gives the Optimus L3 the ability to explode on the slightest touch, breeze or use of suggestive language

- Can be used to keep doors ajar or underneath tables at the local food court to stop that inconvenient wobble

- Like your resulting white blood cell count, it's too damn high

(Reviewer's note: After I put the finishing touches on this review, the fucking charger fell apart as I pulled it out of a power outlet. Now the pins are stuck in the socket. Life's Good.)

Monday, October 26, 2009 - a review.

Now I'm not usually in the habit of reviewing things on this blog, but developments with these lot have inspired me to put pen to paper, or at least fingertip to keyboard.

Before I go into the delicious creamy filling of the review, I need to give you a little bit of background. My wonderful other half Cheinara and I made a wager a few weeks ago that I couldn't get out of bed at 4am every morning for three days straight. Apparently she must think I sleep too much, but I think the fact that I woke up at 10am this morning is a blessing, and not some kind of disfiguring curse. Anyway, I won the bet thanks to years to shiftwork experience and I was to be rewarded with the PS3 title of the moment, Uncharted 2.

'Yay!' I exclaimed over the internet. 'I get to explode things and dangle from ledges!'.

It looked a little something like this.

I do a lot of bargain hunting over at a site called Ecogamer which scours the net for cheap games for Aussies. As luck just so had it, I found out that a little site called had it the cheapest thanks to a promotion code. The game was ordered with gift wrapping and a card included on the 8th October - Just in time for the release on the 15th.

I immediately received an email from their Customer Service Robot thanking me for the order.

Uncharted 2 Among Thieves is not yet published. Your pre-order has been recorded.

This title is due for publication on 15 October, 2009. Your copy has been reserved and we will ship it to you as soon as possible after the release date.
New status: Shipped

Huh? That's odd. I mean I know that Customer Service Robot #132 isn't exactly the most knowledgeable hunk of sentient steel around, but they've managed to ship something before it arrives in their warehouse? That's pretty god damned amazing. On the 15th October (Happy Uncharted Day!) I get another email stating the obvious. It was shipped and on its way. Again. That was good to know, but there was no delivery date. After a few minutes of fighting their website, I get info that the expect delivery address was between the 21st and the 23rd of October. WHAT? That can't be right. Surely it's a Worst Case Scenario here. It's coming from Alexandria! That's like two hours drive away at the most.

The 23rd rolls around, and there is no parcel in my mailbox. Tasty is getting agitated. Time to ask some questions. Once again I have a battle of wills with Fishpond's website (Their 'Contact Us' page has not actual contact details which kind of defeats the purpose) I find a way to get in touch with them. I won't stick the whole email here because it's longer than World War II, but I'll let you know that as pissed as I was, the tone of the email was polite, with a side of constructive criticism bigger than Disneyland. Some excerpts:
'The product has failed to arrive in the delivery window. At first when I saw the delivery estimation I was taken aback, but after speaking to several of your past customers have found that these are quite optimistic. One colleague in Sydney said, and I quote, 'it took them a month to send me a book. a MONTH.' Another in the US responded to my frustrations by saying 'I'll buy it locally here and send it by putting it in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean...might get there quicker.''
'For an apparently Australian online store, with prices in Australian dollars, I have found your delivery times in Australia to be by far the worst I have ever dealt with.'
'Although your quoted average response time to queries is 24 hours, I look forward to receiving your reply in my inbox sometime mid-November.'

Lo and behold, I get a reply within 24 hours. At least their customer service section listens, right?

We apologise for the delay:
* Uncharted 2 Among Thieves
We anticipate delivery Australian Post mail, between 21/10/09 and 26/10/09. Please let us know if it has not arrived by 2nd November and we either order a replacement or cancel the title and refund you.

Huh. Did they even read my relentless onslaught of tactful ranting? By this time it was the 23rd of October. Seems that Fishpond exist in some kind of time-distorting alternate reality where everything is sent and received in the past. My reply this time was something they couldn't easily glaze over:

So between two days ago and Tuesday? Where exactly was it shipped from?

Their reply?

Australia Post does generally take at least 3- 5 days for delivery, and of course from time to time, delays do happen. We sincerely apologise for that.

How the hell does that answer my question? Sounds like Jimmy is doin' some good old fashioned question dodging. I get pissed off at a lot of things, but when people start pretending I didn't ask them a question, I start getting a little riled.

Yes, I noticed that when I initially ordered the product. However, my question wasn't answered.

Long story short, the truth came out., Australia's largest bookstore, is not actually based in Australia at all. They're in New Zealand. Whoops! They must have forgotten to mention that.

So the package finally arrived, 11 days after local release IN NEW ZEALAND:

Wow, those kiwis have an Alexandria, New South Wales too!

The game arrive in a dodgy looking brown paper envelope, usually reserved for liquor and pornography. The usually delightful ziptab opening thing disintegrated when I pulled it, leaving me clawing at the exterior like a starving hyena. The game was lovingly wrapped in Default coloured paper (Fishpond don't actually explain what colour Default is, so today I learned it's silver) and the hand written card from Cheinara?

That's an extremely low resolution printout on an Avery label, stuck to a card. No corners cut here! Cheinara once sent me a slab of beer from an online store in Perth that had better gift wrapping. It even had a hand written card. For BEER. I didn't even know you COULD gift wrap beer before that. Who gift wraps beer? People in Perth do! Sup, Perth?

The back of the card. For New Zealand's Biggest Australian Bookstore, their proof reading sucks.

So in short, I give Fishpond a resounding F- for the entire experience. The entire ordeal was the worst online shopping experience mankind has ever encountered outside Ebay, and their staff not only dodge questions, but have apparently perfected time travel technology to the point where everything happens in the past. Damn you, Fishpond. Damn you for forcing me to do this.

Anyways, time to play some Uncharted 2. Hopefully Fishpond didn't send me the portugese version.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Do they make training wheels for yachts?

When I was a kid, I was told that I was special and I could do anything if I put my mind to it. Teachers, television, even Timon and Pumbaa from the fucking Lion King all seemed to be queuing up for a chance to be included in my own personal cheersquad. It seemed to be a good thing at the time because if a cel-shaded meerkat has utter faith in me, then success is assured.

It was about this time that a friend of mine bought a dirtbike around to my house. It was his new pride and joy - yellow, noisy, even road registered. It kicked ass. He had made several modifcations to it to make it a better ride and I'm pretty sure I remember him saying he wanted to be buried with it (He was 16 at the time). It was all those hard-earned life lessons from everyone else that rang in my head as I was offered the chance to have a go at his dirtbike. Nevermind that I've never ridden a motorcycle before or had much of an idea how a clutch operated.

'It can't be too hard!' I remember thinking, as I revved the bike and waved to my mum who was jumping up and down, protesting over the ning-ning of the engine. 'Just like riding a really loud BMX!' I thought as I pushed the kickstand up. 'What the hell', I exclaimed in horror as the bike launched off at speed, throwing me into the side of the house.

My friend ran over to his bike, checking for scratches and dints while I dusted myself off. I wasn't allowed to ride his dirtbike after that. Fucking meerkats.

The reason I mention this is because of this teen sailor that's in the news, Jessica Watson. You may remember her for trying to be the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe solo. Turns out she isn't quite up to the task at this stage, since she managed to crash her boat into a 63,000 ton bulk carrier less than 24 hours into her trip. Riddle me this - how can you possibly expect to safely sail around the globe for eight months when you can't even make it a day without stacking into a target the size of a football field? She didn't just drop the ball with this one - she dropped the ball, tripped over, knocked out her teeth when her face hit the ground, and then accidentally swallowed them.


Not discouraged by that, Our Jess declared that she would attempt the feat again. Almost immediately, every government official and maritime authority in the country stood up and told her that this was a stupid idea. 'No! Bad Jess! No Biscuit!' they cried out, using such futile tactics such as logic and reason to persuade her to go back to Boating School. It was revealed that she didn't even manage basic tasks while she was at sea. But no! THAT COULDN'T POSSIBLY BE IT! Her mother went on record this week and said that we were all doubting her because she is a girl.

Knock knock - We're all doubting her because she can't sail more than 24 hours before crashing into something. This has nothing to do with being female. Don't fucking bring that shit into it. At the risk of sounding like a callback radio guest, I think the parents are to blame. Personally I would've pulled the plug as soon as I learned that the boat she was sailing was pink enough to lead the next Mardi Gras. Look at that. No, open up the image again and LOOK. LOOK WITH YOUR EYES. I wonder if there's a fucking frangipani sticker on the back.

I'm sure there are cheaper and less disastrous ways to get your kid to move out of home. I learned my lesson when I flew headfirst into a brick wall, maybe Jessica Watson should do the same before she accidentally falls asleep and crashes into Fiji.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Well this certainly won't go down well

As an Australian, I've seen many moments of national outrage unfold. Hey Hey It's Saturday being cancelled, Corey Worthington or whatever his name was, but I now hold a special place for every single man, woman and child who was at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the first quarter break of the AFL Grand Final on Saturday when the name of the new Vegemite was announced.

There are a number of Americans who read this blog, so I'll describe it in a way you can relate to. Picture this in your head if you will (because I had to) - It's the Super Bowl. Biggest game of the year. Millions of viewers on television, and a stadium packed to capacity. It's the end of the first quarter and the crowd are getting into the spirit of things. Little Timmy is enjoying his first football game, and his father bought him an official jersey along with an overpriced snack and drink. Life is good. Everyone is enjoying themselves.

Trumpets echo around the stadium, and a strangely dressed man is lit up by spotlights as he proudly enters the stadium and walks onto the field. In one hand, a brilliantly white cloth. In the other, a golden cage with an American Bald Eagle. The crowd hushes. and Timmy has the feeling he is about to witness something special.

A drum roll begins as this man opens the cage and lifts the majestic animal onto his arm. With his one free hand, he undoes his pants. He then lifts the bird's tail up and begins fucking it up the ass. Several arkward minutes go by, the shocked silence broken only by the protests of the bird, and the crying of children. After the man is done, he wipes the eagle clean with the cloth, and throws it into the crowd, pumping his fist triumphantly into the air.

The crowd does nothing at the sight of this almost blasphemous act. They allow it to continue, and await the next quarter.

THIS is on par with the crowd's reaction when Kraft named the winner of the national 'Name the new Vegemite' competition. Almost 50,000 entries were sent in to name the next iteration of our national spread, and then Kraft fucked the proverbial eagle by calling it something even my eight year old niece laughed at...
'Proudly made in Australia?' I'm sure that's about to change.

When Kraft announced that the new Vegemite was now called iSnack 2.0, nobody did anything. Sure, the entire stadium booed, but there were no riots. THE STUPIDITY COULD HAVE BEEN QUASHED THEN AND THERE! But no, tens of thousands of people and not a single one decided to lead the people in a revolt against quite possibly the most retarded name for a product since... well, the dawn of time.

There are so many things wrong with what I just wrote down (the iSnack bit, although eagle-fucking came on a bit strong). Who the fuck thought that this was a good idea? Has some grossly overpaid, suit wearing shitbag received a bonus for approving this tripe? Kraft's Corporate Head Of Bullshit wrote that iSnack 2.0 personifies the spread's 'personal call to action' as the 'next generation Vegemite'. I don't know how much crystal meth those clowns have been smoking, but I'm quite sure that the entire country is laughing at them because of it. I'm not sure how easy it is to smash a bottle of iSnack 2.0 on the corner of a table and make a shank, but I'm seriously considering trying it out the first time I hear someone ask for it with a straight face. I asked Ms. Felicia about this debacle, and she responded with this tirade for us:

'iSnack. This would mean that not only is Kraft trying to pander (and fail) at reaching a generation, they also fail at realizing that this generation gives two shits about putting the letter 'i' in front of words. In actuality, this generation would rather have it be called 'tits', because let's be honest, who wouldn't want to have some tits on their toast in the morning. Or maybe 'thighs'. Spread some thighs on your breakfast. For breakfast. Whatever the fuck, doesn't matter any more because Kraft's gone and shit in their hands and smeared it all over themselves in a rain-dance of horribly epic proportions.

'OH GREAT MARKETING GOD, TELL US OUT OF THESE THOUSANDS OF SUBMISSIONS, WHAT WE SHOULD NAME OUR PRODUCT!' Someone farts, someone else misinterprets it as iSnack 2.0 (probably marketing), and they call it a day.

I hate the name, and I don't live anywhere near the continent of Australia. When I hear it, the name alone sends me into a mouth-foaming frenzy in which I stuff dried, rotten leaves into my mouth and find the nearest bar to drown myself in a giant vat of hot oil. Holy mother of fuck, what were they thinking.'

The guy who apparently entered the name into the competition, Dean Robbins, is apparently living in Western Australia after relocating from Melbourne. He has two loves in his life - his family, and Vegemite. I'm calling bullshit on this one, because nobody would do this to a product they love. The Vegemite (sorry, iSnack 2.0) website has a photo of this tosser with a giant shit-eating grin (Sorry, iSnack 2.0) holding up a jar of this horribly named, cream-cheese infused spread. He might as well just hold up a sign saying I JUST TOOK A ISNACK 2.0 ON OUR NATIONAL SYMBOL AND THE DICKHEADS AT KRAFT THOUGHT I WAS BEING SERIOUS.

I found this on the internet. It's a much better choice.

The more I hear about this guy, the more I'm convinced that he is now Australia's biggest troll. Instead of going on the internet and enraging a public message board for his own amusement, he's gone and pissed off an entire country. Dean Robbins, if you're reading this... You should have moved interstate AFTER they revealed iSnack 2.0, because now not only does everyone in this wide brown land want your blood, but they also know where you live.

Good luck with this one, champ. Serves you right for fucking our Bald Eagle.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'm absolutely NOT an internet gangsta

Facebook is one of those sites that polarises everyone that visits it. They either love it like I do, hate it like I do, or simply don't get it... like I do. It really depends on when I'm visiting and what kind of nonsense I'm accosted with upon my arrival to the main page. I find it therapeutic to e-stalk friends, people I've met in bars and even that funny-smelling kid at school that now earns more that I do. What I do NOT find therapeutic is the fact that all of the aforementioned groups of people have this crazy idea in their head that I want to join in on their Norwegian goat-herding simulation, or that I have ignored the past 438 Mafia Wars invites because theirs is THE ONE.

Newsflash, genius. It's not. I go onto Facebook to get in contact with people. I don't visit the site and think to myself "Well, shit. You know what I'm missing out on in life? All this time, I've wanted to know what kind of Hepatitis I am. I'm counting the days until some guy who lives in his parent's garage formulates the correlation between Hep C and answers to an internet quiz. While I'm there, I saw that Jimmy has built a city in his virtual country. I really feel sorry for what I did to him all those years ago... I'll enlist in his virtual army and squabble with other internet nerds IN HIS NAME."

Does ANYBODY ELSE see how incredibly fucking stupid this is? When I log into the site I will undoubtedly be eye-raped by multiple invitations over shit I will never care about. The worst thing about it is that nobody seems to understand that I do not give an e-shit about their virtual crime family. Even the wording of the invitations tries to piss me off. Hi, I made an [object] in [fucking stupid Facebook application] and I thought of you because we connect on a spiritual level. I went and hand-invited all 7,400 of my friends, most of which I've never met before in real life, because I absolutely believe you'll enjoy it. No, fuck you, die in a fire, it was a 'Piss Off Everybody' button you clicked because if you did click it, you got a bonus mug of snake piss to drink in your virtual harem. Patronise me like that again and I'll break your face. Stylishly. Like this motherfucker here:

Morpheus didn't believe the latest round of chain emails. Joke's on you, Baldy!

I'm not joining your mob. I'm not a vampire, pirate or viking and don't want to fight the rest of them. I don't care one way or the other if I die not knowing which Days Of Our Lives character I am. If this offends you, get off my internet.

- Signed,
We the people.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tweety Bird dies, buried with english muffin. News at 11

Yes, I'm still alive. Sorry to disappoint.

The reason I have not been doing my weekly updates like a good little chook is because I've actually been in a good mood. No rage, no writing – them's the rules. Luckily for you all, a lunchtime trip to the Westfield Warrawong Food Court has solved all your dramas while giving me another fucking headache to deal with.

I know all except maybe two of my readers have never been to the esteemed Westfield Warrawong Food Court (WWFC) in their lives so allow me to paint the picture.

As you approach the entrance to the WWFC, you are (as is the norm for food courts around the Illawarra) accosted by old Greeks and Italians standing over giant plastic chess pieces, threatening each other's lives. Entering through the squeaking automatic doors, you can immediately see the following food court staples:

- A McDonald's, KFC and Subway
- Asian takeaway shops that everyone ignores, while a sad old lady with a plastic spoon occasionally stirs the Singapore Noodles
- A kebab shop featuring a slightly agitated Turkish man yelling at tomatoes
- Anyone sponsored by Centrelink
- Two chicken shops right next to each other, selling the exact same things.

I've always wondered about those two chicken shops. I wonder if they have a legendary rivalry going on, and now I am going to plan a chef battle where I will sample each of their snack packs and bellow out the winner, WWE style. BUT I DIGRESS.

Right next to the two feuding chicken eateries was a KFC. Talk about a case of the big guy kicking over the proverbial sand castle, right? WRONG. I mosey on up to the KFC counter, and order what I am led to believe is the 'Ultimate Box'. From the looks of what I see on the overheard board, the feast is large enough to mobilise an African nation on. I am up for this. I will engage the box of chicken. I pay my money to the barely-happy-to-be-there register chick and a few minutes later receive THE ULTIMATE BOX.

Now, I must have been spoiled as a young dutch child, as I unwrapped the chicken burger to find what appeared to be a chicken nugget, 4mL of mayonnaise and barely enough lettuce to constitute a rabbit's fart.

Here's my burger after I took a bite out of it.

So is it just me, or have KFC's burgers gotten very.... erm... small?

I mean for about $8 you're getting the 'burger', a few chunks of poopcorn chicken, a box of chips that's more interested in last month's state cricket matches, and a cup of potato and gravy. I guess I could see the value in that, but the centrepiece of the whole shebang is the chicken burger. Compare this culinary TRAVESTY to great local chicken joints like Chiko's, Chicken Wizard, Chicken King, Tony's Chicken Shop or Caesar's. Those burgers are as big as a person's HEAD (I know this, I once asked my girlfriend at the time to hold the burger up to her face) and these rank amongst some of the greatest poultry-based dining experiences the human race will ever know.

It's all a matter of mathematics, apparently. It's a well-observed trend among the chicken chefs that there is a schnitzel-to-chip ratio which can easily show a punter what the better deal will be.

- KFC's schnitzel-to-chip ratio of 1:518 = 'what the fuck is this shit'
- Everyone else's hovers around 1:19 = 'Less chips, but that's cool. Look at the size of that fucking burger. I wonder how many chickens died to make this meal for which we are about to receive. I bet it was a lot. A lot of the juicy, succulent bastards. Amen.'

I know Colonel Sanders has been dead for years, so I'm not going to address this to anyone in particular, but What the fuck, nobody in particular? I asked for a chicken burger, not a fucking 1:18 scale model. Look across the food court assholes. Do you see that guy in the smoke shop selling the model racecars? Do I look like the kind of guy who would try to feed the little men inside those cars? No, I don't. While I've got your attention, who is the genius pimping last December's test match between NSW and TAS? Are there even people LEFT on that island? Do you all stand there like a bunch of pick-socked orangutans wondering why I'm not urgently firing up my time machine to spectate that match? Well you shouldn't because nobody really gives a fuck about state cricket anyway.

Next time, I'm totally going to do the cook-off between the other chicken places. Their burgers would be wise not to disappoint me. I'm a very influential person amongst internet nerds.

For the American readers, change 'chicken burger' to 'chicken sandwich', then go slap yourself for calling it a sandwich when it's a bun, and not bread. Also FYI I know I misspelled 'popcorn' as 'poopcorn' but it's 4am Sunday morning while I write this and I find it absolutely hilarious.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

We Were All Thinking It

As at least 6 people around this wide brown land would know, I'm a pretty multicultural kinda guy. I'll hang out with Belgians, Americans, Sudanese, even Brazilians (especially Brazilians) any day of the week. I can use chopsticks, I've been known to sing Irish drinking songs and I've even been involved in a knife-fight with a girl from the Phillipines. Which is why I'm still struggling to find out why I'm so touchy about the Japanese.

Now don't get me wrong, I love the Japanese. They're a polite and technologically advanced people. Show me any activity on Earth and I could find a Japanese person who has dedicated their life to perfecting it. But to be honest, I think I'm developing a love/hate relationship with the place. I really want to visit, but I'm not quite sure what I'll find there.

Here are a few Japanese things that we should all be thankful for:

- Robots
- Takeshi's Castle
- Street Fighter 4.

A wide and varied selection by any means. However for every yin, there is a yang, and this brings me to the crux of this blog post. Japan has some seriously strange shit that it's responsible for.

Here are a few Japanese things which frighten me:

- Cat weight lifting
- Dressing girls up as baby seals and baiting killer whales with them
- Sony Corporation, Ltd
- Robots
- Basically all of their pornography

Why is it that every fucking time somebody pushes the envelope, Japan just waltzes in and launches the envelope across the stadium like a human cannonball? Of all things, I'll draw your attention to tasteful photography. Most people could easily find a nice nude shot of an attractive girl artistic (email me, it's for ART) but then some visionary in Japan decided to summon all the rage of his samurai ancestors and bring us this:


Is this considered art? Social commentary on the plight of tentacled monsters everywhere? I know the Japanese seem to love their tentacles (I'm not fucking going there) but this is just... wow. THEY ARE WEARING OCTOPUSES. Or is that octopi? I don't know. Fuck you, I'm dealing with emotional trauma right now.

The only way this photograph could get worse is if it was a candid shot, and not staged at all.
"Oh hey Natsuki, what's happening?"
"Oh, just wearing an oct... OH HEY I LOVE YOUR OCTOPUS HAT!"
"I love yours too! Which flavour did you get?"
"Oh, salt and pepper squid."

I'm going to stop with the virtual conversation there because... look, I don't need an excuse. LOOK AT THAT SHIT. I could keep on giving examples all day, but I'm sure you don't want that kind of burden on your mind, because the above image is nothing compared to some of their other ideas. I really don't want to bow and shake hands with the guy who thought gymnastics equipment was sexy enough to be involved in hardcore pornography. To all the girls reading this (remember: for art) - remember the last time you went to the uh, ladie's doctor, and he pulled out those salad tong looking things? Substitute that with a POMMEL HORSE

Images not to scale

Now it's not the first time this has happened apparently, but World War II taught us that some things should never be repeated. I'll be starting a support group for everyone who has been exposed to Random Horrific Japanese Stuff over the next week or so. I just hope you all don't get flashbacks the next time you meet a Japanese exchange student at the pub. Sorry Tomiko - you were great fun but that twitching wasn't because I had something in my eye AT ALL.