Monday, March 26, 2007


Over the weekend I bought myself a new mobile phone. My old one had long ago run out of credit, and I wasn't prepared to give those scumbags at Telstra more of my money, so it could only receive calls. In addition, it was hardwired to the CDMA network, which is being decommissioned early next year, so in a few months it wouldn't even be able to do that. I had a bit of cash and some spare time on Saturday, so I made the effort to get a new one.

The one I chose is an LG KG245. I bought it because I wanted something inexpensive with a camera and a clamshell design, and I liked the quiet masculinity of its glossy black and silver case. As we men are wont to do, I bought it with a minimum of fuss. I basically walked into the shop, said, "I want a phone. That is a phone. Give me that phone." then paid for it and walked out.

Little did I realise the horrors that awaited me.

Like I said, it looks like a man's phone. It's black, shiny and simple:

LG KG245

But appearances can be deceiving. I had to spend four or five hours going through all the menus and subdirectories, carefully de-Japanese schoolgirl-ifying the damn thing. With every single action, every keypress, it emitted annoyingly cheerful high-pitched chimes. Actually completing an action, such as adding an address book entry, made it warble and chirp like Hello Kitty on ecstasy. After five minutes I was screaming "Shut up Shut up SHUT UP!" at it. "Why is a hokey version of 'Every Breath You Take' the default ringtone?" I demanded. "Why are 'Uptown Girl' and 'Singin' in the Rain' programmed in at all? Why does every single ringtone sound like Gay Night in the karaoke district of Osaka?"

I've managed to get the damn thing to shut up, but I don't know what I can do about the icons. Deleting something brings up a (now mercifully silent) dancing pink garbage can. The calendar system has orange gerberas on it. Worst of all, you can assign an icon to the groups in your address book, and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM is about as manly as 'The Babysitter's Club'. You can have a gold star, or a love heart, or a flower, or a teddy bear with a red bow tie. I do not want any group of people in my address book to be represented by a teddy bear with a red bow tie. I want cars, and skulls, and guns. I want my address book to be something that I wouldn't be ashamed to show Henry Rollins, in the unlikely event that he asks to see it. Yes, I admit that this is not a probable scenario, but I can imagine my mortification if Henry Rollins scorned my address book. I'd never recover.

henry rollins

I have judged your mobile phone and FOUND IT WANTING, MOTHERF*CKER!

Maybe I should download some Black Flag ringtones, just to be on the safe side.


Blogger emawkc said...

If you have even the weakest audio editing kung-fu (like me), then you might take a look at Mobile17. You can upload any mp3 file and in a few minutes it is sent to your phone as a ringtone.

I currently have Groove is in the Heart as the ringtone when my wife calls and Funkytown as my default ringer for other calls.

Best part is that it's free.

PS -- Sorry for the borderline spam, but it really is a cool service.

3:00 AM  
Blogger Laziest Girl said...

Trust me Blandy, you will never be mistaken for a Japanese schoolgirl. While you have the menus and the icons, you are missing the most crucial of all Japanese phone accessories. I think rather than denying your feminine side, you need to embrace it wholeheartedly. I suggest that you invest in at least one of each of the following:

Hello Kitty charm
Mickey Mouse charm
Minnie Mouse charm
Usahana charm
Cute kitten charm
Cute puppy charm
Cute frog charm
Sparkly diamante charm

Then, take yourself and your friends to a photo booth and get clicking. You will need at least three photos of you and your friends, adorned with pastel flowers and hearts, to stick on your phone.

Voila, the transformation will be amazing!

8:46 AM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Thanks emawkc, I'll give it a go.

And Laziest Girl, just reading that list makes my eyes bleed.

9:51 AM  
Blogger MC Etcher said...

It's likely that the phone has multiple 'themes' - you might have it set on 'Japanese Schoolgirl' at the moment. It would be worth checking.

Changing the theme would change the icons and sounds at the same time.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Nope. It's a cheap phone. Themes are for the rich.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

That's what I used to think -- Until I downloaded the 'Night Rider' theme as my ringtone. Now I'm the envy of the office and women swoon at the though of me carrying a phone bearing the audio distillment of David Hasselhoff's early career. And KITT.

Sometimes people call me just to hear it ring. Honest!

12:13 PM  
Blogger Iris Flavia said...

What a story :-)))
I have a Motorola C118 for 20 euros. Just a cellphone, no more. And you can add a handset without buying an adapter:

3:42 PM  
Blogger an9ie said...

Laziest girl certainly has it right, when I was in Japan, the schoolgirls had so many charms attached to their phones that I wasn't sure they could actually hear the person on the other end of the line through the windchime effect created by all the little clackity-doo-dads.

You could attach spikes to it that made your palms and ears bleed whenever you answered the phone. No one would dare question your masculinity then.

Or they might think it was just stigmata.

9:47 AM  

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