. . .

Monday, April 30, 2007

Okay, I've been tagged to create a virtual painting using Jacksonpollock.org!

Here is my creation: (It's alive! Alive I tell you!)

The way this works is this:

  • Write a comment on this post (where it all began!)
  • Create a picture using Jacksonpollock.org
  • Post it on your blog
  • Tag 5 People to do the same

I totally can't think of enough people to tag (that haven't already been tagged!)

So....If you're reading this....You're it!!!
I first encountered this link exchange experiment at Dosh Dosh last week...

I am putting up my hand to join the Technorati Favorites Exchange. You may have already heard of this -
  • To participate, click on the "Add this Blog to my Technorati Favorites" button on the right hand sidebar of my blog (just underneath my profile).
  • Leave a comment with your Technorati username (preferably leave a direct link to your "Favorite my blog" section in Technorati).
Simple! You fave my blog, I'll fave yours.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

While scanning the items on Ebay, I've noticed a sneaky trick sellers might use to get you to part with your dollars. Here's an example of one of the nasty ads:

"1GB POD MP3/MP4 player" or "1GB SHUFFLE MP3 player"

You will notice that the ads don't mention the term "Apple", because they're not.

Even worse is this particular ad found today: "IPOD Nano Style Mp3 Player"

Many people are likely to put a bid on these items without checking them out carefully. Yes, it's true that there is an MP3 player called an IPOD and there is also an IPOD Shuffle. These sellers know the familiarity of these terms and are trying to get away with unsuspecting Ebayers' money. If you read the ads carefully, you will find it says something like "this is NOT Apple brand" or words to that effect. But often by the time a person has bid, it is too late to read the fine print.

Here's an example of one of these fakes:

And the real Apple product:

The fake IPOD Shuffle:

Versus the real Apple IPOD Shuffle:

The items are pretty similar. Not identical, but pretty close. If the ad looks pretty much LIKE the real deal, it inspires confidence to buy, which is going to end in disappointment when the piece of crap arrives. The worst thing about this is buyers paying top dollar for second rate knock-offs from who-knows-where!

Anyway, keep your ear to the ground and always do your research before putting a bid on anything on Ebay. If you ask questions and check out all the information, you've got a much better chance of getting a genuine bargain rather than a cheap imitation.

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The latest Gonzo Carnival is hosted by Religion, Politics and the Great Pumpkin on the 26 April, 2007 (US time, not Australian!). Be sure to check out all the posts (including mine) and enjoy! Thanks also to Fear and Loathing - The Gonzo Papers and For Your Success.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Wow, I've really broken into the big time. Get this for business acumen...

I bought a completely bollocksy book on how to play bass called "The Bass Grimoire". To give you some background on the book, imagine the most complicated, overblown and head-up-a$$ way to explain some really simple concepts and you pretty much have "The Bass Grimoire". I mean, the fact that it's called "The Bass Grimoire" should actually be a clue to the pretentiousness of the content. It really tries to scare the beginner away from getting anywhere near the "Ivory Tower" of knowledge that spouts from the overrated author's rear end.

So, there's the background. I decided to sell this book because I couldn't find a use for it and at the time I was pretty well stocked with toilet paper.

I bought some years back for $40.00 (money well spent!) and decided to try my skills as a seller on Ebay. I put the postage down for $8.00, thinking that this would be about right, and put a no reserve auction into play.

By the end of the auction 7 days later, some lucky punter had won the item for 0.99c!

And the postage turned out to be $9.00 so I lost a dollar on postage as well.

So altogether I am down $40.01 (if my erroneous maths serves me correctly)

Wow. I'm a real mover and shaker.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Another shameless plug for votes:

My site was nominated for Best Shopping Blog! My site was nominated for Best Humor Blog! My site was nominated for Best Blog About Stuff! My site was nominated for Best Hobby Blog!

Love and kisses

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Okay, I'm miffed at Revlon for discontinuing the best shades of lipstick and lipliner colours. Dusty Rose is a classic. And I can't find it anywhere. It's the ONLY colour that suits me. ARGH!!! Okay, I won't die without it but I have had nightmares about being stranded on a desert island without it. And it scares me. They also discontinued my favourite lip colour - which I think was also called 'Dusty Rose' - the one that went with the lipcolour, anyway.

I now have to settle for 'Plum Baby' (467) which the lady at the Revlon counter told me was the equivalent to 'Dusty Rose'. It's not. It's ok, but it's not the same. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I loved being on holiday, it was like having a pressure valve released. I felt like a new person after 12 hours of being away. I do however have mixed feelings about staying at the Great Ocean Hotel (aka Top Pub) in Apollo Bay. I guess I could start by summarizing the good and bad points : -

1. The balcony overlooks the mountains and the foreshore. And you can hear the ocean. And you can see the golf course from the balcony and out of the hotel window.

2. The beds are comfy. Good mattresses. I slept like a log every night.

3. Guest soaps and guest towels. Very cute - old world charm etc.

4. Ye-olde building, wood panelling and if you pretend hard enough, you could be in a seaside English town. Apart from the flies and the drunken a@#$holes yelling various obscenities outside the window. Except that some of the drunken a@#$holes WERE English backpackers. And Scottish. And French?!?! In fact, we may have been the only Australians staying at the pub. The noisiest and nastiest loudmouths running rampant in the street were Australian however - possibly even locals. Scary stuff.

5. Okay, I think I've inadvertently switched over to the bad points. Oops. Okay, when we turned up at the hotel, lugging bags and wanting to just crash and go downstairs and have a beer, the guy at the counter said "here's your key" with a big smile. So I go upstairs to find an unlocked room with no bedding on the bed, no towels, no soap, nothing at all. A mattress protector on the bed mocked my tired legs and brain. I thought, what the crap do we do now?

So I go downstairs and tell the guy. He acts like it's no big deal. I slowed down my speech and said "So the room I specifically requested and that you told me would be ready - is not ready. On the day we said we would be arriving." He looked blank and said "yeah?" like he didn't understand. He was about 20 years old and his arrogance was starting to get to me. "So what are we supposed to do now?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah. You can have this room instead. It's nicer anyway. I don't think the cleaner's been in this week."

Fine, I thought. Trudging up the stairs again, we looked at this room. It had no TV and no curtains and the sun was streaming in like something out of Raiders of the Lost Arc.

I ask you. How the crap could you get any sleep when you get full sun at around 6:30am? We'd wake up suntanned! So I trudged down again, quite composed under the circumstances, and told him there were no curtains. He gave me yet another key. Another guy from the hotel was a bit more helpful, he told us he would call the cleaner and try and get our original room ready for the next day of our stay.

I opened the door and found yet another room with no TV, no table and no mirror. My partner and I looked at each other and both thought "stuff it! This will do." We realised they were not likely to get it together to fix up the room we originally booked. And we were right. They did, however finally get the room ready and let somebody else stay in there instead of us. At that point, we couldn't be bothered worrying about it anymore.

6. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the bathrooms. Ha!!! The shower head in the female showers was busted. In fact, it has been that way for over 18 months - the last time I stayed in the hotel! How much trouble would it be to get a wrench and fix the dang shower head? I ask you. Here is a picture of me trying to have a shower in this ridiculous contraption:

And here is a picture of our room. It was designed for 2 people (double bed) + 2 more people in bunks. How cosy. The bunks gave us somewhere to put our luggage, I suppose!

Excuse the mess, there was hardly any floor space!

On the second night, the hotel completely ran out of toilet paper. It was getting late and we went downstairs to ask for it to be replaced. The guy we spoke to (another employee) said "I've just knocked off." Well, that's great but could you get someone to help us? I mean just because you've knocked off, and are getting pissed at the very place where you work, it doesn't mean that the problem has gone away. Around 6 people staying on the floor without toilet paper for the night? Or more? It doesn't bear thinking about. So after hunting around for ages and asking various people we finally got someone to do something about the TP situation. At this point we should have been getting paid by the hour!

Then, later that night, the same guy from the desk on the first day let a bunch of loud drunken thugs from off the street into the hotel. They proceeded to rush up and down the halls banging on the walls and doors bellowing "any good looking Sheilas here?"

1. People actually say Sheilas?
2. I'm glad I was asleep with the door locked. My partner was glad of this as well. He was on the balcony at the time, watching these thugs run rampant through the private halls of the hotel, while the guy who WORKED there leaned over the balcony yelling obscenities at people in the street at the top of his voice.

But despite all these bizarre experiences, the price of the hotel was good ($60 per night for the room) and we had a brilliant relaxing time. I wouldn't recommend this place wholeheartedly, but it was kind of ok. The 20 year old guy got a complaint from yet another guest about the obscenities and the balcony situation and ironically he said to us "what does he expect, staying in a pub?"

Hmm. Well, I suppose I expect a basic standard of accommodation. A room that is made up when you arrive, a shower that works, toilet paper in the bathrooms and a certain level of security from unhinged thugs on a drinking rampage.

In terms of the star rating system, for a backpacker hotel, I'd give it 1.5 stars.
* = Clean basic accommodation with simple furnishing and facilities.
* * = Moderate accommodation with comfortable furnishings and facilities.

I took points off for no TP, grotty shower curtain and no mirror etc. I added points for the comfy bed. That's as much as I can give them, I'm afraid. At least until they can get the place in order and take it a bit more seriously.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Okay, it's voting time!! If you like, love or just simply tolerate my blog, you can vote for me at the Blogger's Choice Awards in the following categories:

My site was nominated for Best Shopping Blog! My site was nominated for Best Humor Blog! My site was nominated for Best Blog About Stuff! My site was nominated for Best Hobby Blog!

All you have to do is sign up for the site, then vote away.

/end shameless plug.


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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Carmex Lip Balm - $5.99 from your local chemist or online.

I would like to thank Cat from Living With Multiple Personalities for turning my attention to this underrated lip balm. This product, as far as I can tell, is relatively new in Australia and once I tried it, I'm never going back!!

Rating: 10/10 - yep, that's right! I actually think it's better than the Blistex lip balm that I rated 10/10. Hmmm. Maybe I can give this one 10.5 out of 10?

It feels good on the lips, smells nice, and most of all, it actually moisturises. It also comes in a tube form but I have not yet been able to find this in Australia so far. Here's what it looks like:

Back in my original Lip Balm Challenge post, Cat commented that Carmex is good for taking on skiing trips. Me, I don't ski. In fact in terms of skiing I am a complete disaster area. For someone so coordinated for rollerblading, running, yoga and pilates, I am at a loss to understand this phenomenon. I tried downhill skiing near the border of Washington State and Canada after doing minimal training cross-country skiing at Lake Mountain, Victoria, Australia. For those of you who have not been to Lake Mountain, it is pretty tame compared to anywhere, let alone the USA/Canada. So, after a 1 hour lesson with a depressingly coordinated instructor, I got on the chairlift with my friend and started the climb to the "Green" run. When we neared the top, she told me "don't worry, heaps of people fall when they try to get off the chairlift". We dismounted and surprisingly, she fell and I didn't. This is going to be easy, I thought. Now, skis parallel, slightly pointed in, off we go.

Suddenly everything went blank. I was flying down the mountain, without a clue of what I had just been taught in the 1-hour lesson. Was it skis pointed in? Did you use your heels? Toes? Arms? I had no idea. All I knew was that I was going faster and faster, and I didn't have any idea how to stop.

And something else was happening. Each time I hit a bump, I was jumping off to another course. If I kept going, I would be on the black run. I was going too fast for my fear to catch up to me. I would rather swim with piranhas than go on the Black Run. That is strictly for suicidal maniacs and ridiculously outdoorsy types who actually have control over their bodies and their skis.

Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted as I hit another bump. I was airborne. I couldn't believe how high I was flying. I was flying so high I could hear the people on the chairlift talking. I clearly heard a girl say "Is she going to die?" as I flew past the lifts and towards a big pile of white.


My head hit the snow three times. I was practically buried and I couldn't see anything. My head was down the mountain and my skis were pointing up the mountain towards the sky. Somehow I had flown backwards. Everything was dark and I couldn't really move. Or could I? I wiggled my foot. Then my hands. Letting go of my poles, I dragged and dug myself out of my snowy resting place. I was okay. Well, I had a F#$%ck of a headache, but I was okay.

I looked up to see one of the officials from the ski resort standing over me. He looked extremely pissed off.

"The beginners run is THAT way." He said grumpily, then stalked off.

I started to laugh. One, because I was alive, and two, because that guy thought I was stupid enough to ever try anything like that again.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Expletive expletive expletive. I tried to buy this MP3 player - Creative Muvo, as I have discussed in earlier posts is pretty much all you need as far as these things are concerned. Well, all I need anyway. And some no-talent-ass-clown pips me at the post. I mean really. It's just so rude. I was watching the whole thing unfold in front of me, quite sure I had it sorted.

Some people may suggest getting the Ebay toolbar. Perhaps, but it wouldn't have helped me in this situation...

the @$$#% person somehow managed to put in a bid EXACTLY $1 over my maximum bid when the time left reads: less than 1 minutes.

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Photos in Order of Appearance (click to enlarge):

1. The Apollo Bay Clubhouse, 9th green. The first tee is around the corner
2. The spectacular 3rd hole, overlooking the ocean
3. The view from the 6th tee if you look behind you!
4. The 8th tee
5. The 9th tee with horses riding off into the sunset!

Witnessing the beauty of Apollo Bay Golf Course was a pretty amazing experience. I tried to compare it to another golf course but all I could come up with was Tiger Woods 2o03 on Playstation. It looks a bit like Torrey Pines with a bit of Pebble Beach thrown in. For those of you who don't know, Apollo Bay is in South Western Victoria, Australia (see map)

Firstly, the green fees for Apollo Bay Golf Course are reasonable. $20 for 18 holes - or $12 for 9 holes.

Secondly, the views are incredible. It is hard to concentrate on anything else. Fortunately, I was caddying so I didn't have to actually make the shots. I gave a couple of suggestions about club selection and I clicked for each shot.

My partner hit some truly beautiful shots and a number of pars. The dudes (locals) on the first tee were impressed by the seemingly effortless '3' on the first hole.

The conditions on the first day were gusty - a course like this gets a lot of wind, especially on the exposed seaside parts and any part of the course without a tree. The greens, well that was a different thing altogether. I saw balls skid and fly across greens like a dog on a tiled floor. There was no way this was going to be easy.

And... there are some moments where it is difficult to be a caddy. Like when my partner shot the ball into the trees and rather than taking a deep breath, walking around and doing a setup, he whacked the ball once.

I clicked.

And another.

I clicked, my mouth falling open but saying nothing.

Another whack and the ball was out. Finally.

I clicked again.

He looked at me and said "did you get all that?"

I nodded. And said nothing. Sometimes the best thing you can do as a caddy is say nothing. That's what I think anyway. I wouldn't want someone telling me what I already know I did wrong. We certainly had a big laugh about it at the hotel that night.

One of the shots landed in the ocean, so the next Srixon came out.

Another Srixon was lost in what looked like an old fishing hut from "I Know What You Did Last Summer". Either way, it was out of bounds and it would not have been the best idea to look for it, considering the high grass and rusty things lying around. Plus, I don't like snakes. I don't even care if they're actually there or not, it's just the thought of one lying in wait at the bottom of long grass...waiting for you to step on them.

There were some more great shots, and then disaster struck on the 2nd hole.

My partner sliced (?) - the one that goes to the left, anyway - the ball off the tee on the second hole into a shrubbery of wrong.

I thought that the last Srixon had left the building.

After much rummaging around and bending down to look at anything that appeared white, I suddenly heard my partner call out "here it is!"

I was relieved. The last Srixon saved. I looked up to see what looked like a frighteningly bad shot. It was like a chopping motion down into the ground and the club didn't seem to go anywhere at all. I went from relieved to horrified. But suddenly, the ball trickled out of the underbrush, down the massive hill and onto the fairway again. Go figure. I have a lot to learn about golf. These 3 days of golf were so much fun and very relaxing. The sea air is very good for the health.

Anyway, these are the Srixon balls (around $15)

They certainly performed well on the 3 consecutive days of golf. They are designed for high wind conditions and they certainly did what they were supposed to do.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I fell in love with the Hyundai Getz we used to get to Apollo Bay. Rented from Budget Rent-A-Car in Geelong, the total cost for 4 days (more like 5, actually!) hire was $290. Organising the rental was no problem, the people were courteous and the car was in good shape. The only surprise occurred when I arrived at the pick-up point and found out the car was an automatic. As a lifelong manual driver, I found this unsettling. But, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise - it was easier to drive and considering the number of corners I had to navigate, actually made the drive more enjoyable. By the end of driving from Geelong to Apollo Bay through Winchelsea and Skenes Creek way, I felt exhilarated and now I want to drive more. We came back from Apollo Bay through Marengo, Gellibrand and Colac. Now dubbed "The Third Way", it is, in my opinion, the quickest, easiest and most pleasant drive from Apollo Bay to Geelong.

If you are ever in the area, make sure you stop off at the Winchelsea Roadhouse. The people are very friendly and they sell these great 7-packs of vitamins (Nature's Way Energy Multi) that kept us going throughout the journey and the rest of the holiday.

Here is the Winchelsea Roadhouse in all its glory:

If you ever go there, say hi to the very funny lady who works there. She is quite a character!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I have to add this to my previous V/Line post - the fares are VERY reasonable. It cost me $6.10 to travel from Melbourne to Geelong. When I think about it, that's actually cheaper than an all day Zone 1&2 metropolitan ticket. The fare I managed to buy was for off-peak travel. The journey started on Thursday 22 March at 2pm. If you happen to get a peak ticket, it will still only cost you $8.60, which won't break the bank.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I would like to say I enjoyed the trip from Melbourne to Geelong travelling with V/Line. But...(and there was always going to be a "but") the trains don't seem as quaint and old-worldly as they used to. I'll start with Spencer Street Station, where the Journey began. Actually, it's called "Southern Cross" Station now which I think is bollocks. What the hell does that mean, for a start? Southern Cross? The station is located at Spencer Street. Spencer Street made sense. Now a whole bunch of tourists from overseas are lost in space trying to work out where Southern Cross station is supposed to be.

Here is a picture of the "new and improved" Southern Cross station:

I call it "The Birdcage". And I think that's being nice to it. It looks like a great big dirty chicken coop. I don't know whose bright idea it was to change the station into a large barn but I liked it better before.

The glossy photos of Southern Cross don't actually show the crapness of the design. I suppose it's trying to be "modern". You know what? It's a nightmare. You can't find anything. The staff are unfriendly. The V/Line ticket counter is hidden underneath a secret passageway that requires a map and lots of legwork to find. I can't stand it.

The old Spencer Street station was cute. And daggy. That's what's wrong with Australia. It's daggy but it doesn't want to admit it. So it tries to be modern and cutting edge and ends up looking even more dorky. Come on Australia, embrace your inner dag. It's okay.

Here it is (*sigh*) The old Spencer Street. Complete with kiosks and seating areas for people to congregate and greet or farewell loved ones.

But now, to the actual journey itself. My partner and I were crammed into this tiny carriage (only a 3 carriage train!) with a whole bunch of other travellers. Why there were so many, I will never know. The Swimming perhaps? The Airshow? Don't know. All I know is I don't want to go through that again. We were seated next to an obnoxious lady who actually picked a fight with us because we had a lot of luggage. Then she put her feet on our bags, then insulted us. We were flabbergasted. And we had to ignore the scheming harpy for 1 whole hour. That is not easy when someone is goading you and making nasty comments every 10 minutes. What a cow. Actually scratch that. I like cows. What a horrible banshee of a woman. I think she came from South Geelong and I hope to never run into her again.

So apart from the nasty woman and the crowded carriages and another weird lady eating a sandwich very loudly in front of us, the trip was forgettable.

I remember a time about 18 months ago where we got a V/Line train from Geelong to Melbourne. We found a quaint carriage with a hallway and sliding doors to these little booths, like in those old movies. It looked a little like this one:

The window had little curtains and the snack car was still active. I miss the snack car ladies and the conductors with the whistle. Perhaps those days are over. Are we moving forward? No. We're regressing and devolving (is that a word?). V/Line used to be charming. I hope one day they will be again.

I am currently waiting for my photos to be developed at Rabbit Photo. I am pretty impressed with their service - they are prompt and have a special "gold card" for frequent er... developers. I actually can't wait for the photos to come out so I can start raving and reviewing the holiday. I must say I really enjoy developing photos. I guess that's one of the sad things about digital cameras. I mean, they are instant, just like my old Polaroid that I have sitting in my cupboard. But the Polaroid gives you a photo - it slides right out of the camera like magic. And then there's the waiting for the picture to appear. I love that part. You don't know if it's going to be a good one or a bad one, that's the fun of it.

I guess what I miss when I'm using digital cameras is the "photo" part. The actual, holding it in your hand photo result. If you don't have a hard copy, it kind of creates a "virtual" photo, which isn't as fun. Yes, you can go to a photo processing shop and process your photos from a digital camera, but few people do. And you have to process hundreds at a time which makes it less viable.

I have taken to buying those disposable cameras for now. Yes, I realise they are hideously bad for the environment and I won't do it again, I promise. I am actually going to get myself a camera one of these days, be it film or digital. These disposable film cameras are great when you are on holiday - you can buy them after you arrive at your destination and take 24 photos, which can be all you need for a short holiday.

Again, I can't wait to get these photos developed. But I just had a flash (pardon the pun!) of people nowadays being grandparents and trying to show the grandkids some family photos.

Grandma: "I have some photos here of when you were just 1 month old, visiting the farm with Mum and Dad...Oh! Drat! I'm sorry dear, the 1GB memory sticks just don't work in your computer. It says unable to read disk"

Granddaughter: "Of course not Grandma, you can only use the 1000GB cards now!"

Grandma: "*Sigh* This new technology, I don't know."

And there it is. So much for showing the family album. "Unable to read disk." Worth thinking about.

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