19 December

Melbourne has a Captain Kirk of trams, keeps log, is wonderful

Captain Kirk of Melbourne trams

Melbourne, as you’re ramping up to Christmas and giving thanks to your colleagues, friends and total strangers in random acts of chardonnay-fueled  goodwill, make sure you spare a thought for sand.  It turns out we owe our grainy friend a lot. If you have ever voyaged on the good ship Public Transport in Melbourne, you may have at times noticed that sand fills sections of the walls of our trams. Being the edgy city this is, we’ve long thought those clear panels were some kind of art installation.  But a quick Google reveals two things:

1) We are wrong

2) Melbourne has one of the most surprisingly joy-giving blogs dedicated to tramlife you’ve ever seen.

melbournetramdriver.blogspot.com.au enthusiastically explains all the things about trams (and douchebags with umbrellas and the horror of working on New Year’s Eve) that you never knew you really want to know about.

It’s mesmerising. That sand, for example, turns out to be a delightfully antiquated mechanism for helping trams not kill us all in wet weather. When the trams lose traction, the drivers deploy the sand button (a sand button!) and our grippy savour comes to the rescue.

Better yet are the site’s fans. Let’s be honest. The internet is rife with trolls and Melbourne’s first love is bitching about public transport.… Read more

4 September

Unfiending: the gentle art of losing jerks on Facebook

andrewpstreet-482x100

When you can no longer be friends with someone on Facebook, but don’t want to be one who cuts ties, there can be a third, wonderful way…

Dear The Internet,

Do you like this person outside Facebook (no/no)?

Do you like this person outside Facebook (no/no)?

The English language is the largest of all of the human word-things – partially because of its playful versatility, partially because we just gank words from other languages whenever we fancy it, and partially because of the Oxford English Dictionary’s new policy of getting headlines by officially adding any word that gets used more than twice in The New York Times.

And yet there are still vast tundras of human experience as yet unmapped by intrepid lexicographers, which is why I so often find myself forced into creating my own words. Like an infant trying to build a cathedral by bashing bits of Lego together, I struggle, cry and often end up wetting myself – but dammit, I shall never waver in my passionate commitment to making our rich and supple language be heaps more awesomer.

With that in mind, English Language, I present the following:

UNFIENDING (verb): Passive social media exorcism; the liberating experience of discovering you’ve been unfriended by someone about whom you were feeling ambiguous.

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