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Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's that time of year again. The standouts from Choice Magazine Shonky Awards are as follows: 

Airobe Body Dryer It's basically a huge hairdryer for your body. It also seems to claim that it's environmentally friendly due to no longer needing to launder towels. Excuse me but when I have a shower I don't like to parade around without a towel with decent coverage. Must be my little quirk. For those of you who like to dance around in the nud in front of a huge hairdryer I have only one thing to say to you: You're weird, pal. 

Coles Steam Iron The purpose of an iron as I understand it is to smooth out creases in your clothing, giving you that "just laundered" look. The Coles steam iron, according to the results of Choice testing, sticks to clothes, increases creases (snigger!), and makes a big ol' steamy, watery, burny mess. If I wanted to do that to my clothes I would hang out in a steel foundry.

  Premium Mobile Services Industry

I'm not sure if anyone has heard about that guy who downloaded one episode of Prison Break and a few songs overseas and ran up a bill for around 35,000 pounds (see story here). This is a good example of how much these companies can charge for what is essentially useless content. I mean I have a phone, it rings numbers and sends texts. I don't need Kanye West's latest song as my ringtone, I don't need phone bling and I'd feel a little silly with a Harry Potter theme for my menu. I ask you, who really wants to watch an episode of Prison Break that much? And who wants to sit through the latest episode of Lost on a tiny phone screen? Here's an idea: record it, get your friends to record it, buy the DVD box set! Surely it will cost a lot less than 35,000 pounds. And parents can guard against their teenagers doing such dastardly things like downloading hotBabes4U by only allowing them to have a prepaid phone and recharging in small amounts. The recurring charges on a post-paid account can be devastating to all involved. And shame on these evil wrongdoers by targeting a naive audience and making it almost impossible to unsubscribe. 

Glaceau Vitamin Water I am also a victim of this shonkiness. I have many times consumed this concoction, erroneously believing it to be providing me with some kind of health benefit. Now, through these awards I have discovered I have been consuming a third of the daily sugar requirement for an adult female. AND I've often been consuming one of these before my 1-2k walks. Talk about a false economy! I don't even have sugar in my dandelion coffee! Argh! I also discovered that these drinks contain less than 1% fruit juice and are packed with artificial colouring. Yet another product to drop from my list. *sigh* Thanks to Choice for exposing the shonkiness infiltrating our consumer goods. Keep up the good work!


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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I was sorry to learn from Blogetiq that BlogMad is closing down on the 12th of December 2008.

It's a real pity because I know of many people (myself included!) who know and love the site and surf through blogs regularly to earn credits at a 1:1 ratio. I have noticed a number of sites are closing down including matched.co.uk and various others. I wonder if it is due in part to the credit crunch? Or credit splat more like it, since that's the noise it's going to make when it hits its rear end on the bottom of the ladder. Eeek! I hope this doesn't affect too many sites because the rise of interesting blogging resources is required more than ever. We need to know how screwed things are just as soon as events occur.

Fingers crossed we get ourselves out of this mess.

BlogMad - farewell old buddy, I'll miss the creds!! If I had a lazy bunch of US$ lying handy I'd buy the domain.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Me - olive skin, dark brown hair. The mission - to become a blonde. (play mission impossible music here)

Many say that us olive-skinned people should never go blonde. Hairdressers often get a look of fear and dread wash over their faces before hastily asking:

"How about some lowlights instead?"

Hmm. Lowlights eh?

When you were a kid, and you wanted fairy floss at the amusement park and your parents gave you a wholemeal peanut butter sandwich instead, were you satisfied?

I think that answers my question, whatever that was.

The point I'm trying to make is this - when you want to go blonde, there is no substitute. It's like some kind of weird addiction. Once the idea manifests, it germinates and grows and pretty soon you are thinking of nothing but achieving your goal of ultimate blondeness.

I go to a Korean hairdresser. The staff think I am amusing for some reason, I'm not sure why. I like going to them because they do weird punk haircuts and pretty much anything is fair game. I asked my hairdresser to give me a colour called "ash blonde" all over. She didn't even blink - just started mixing up all this weird purple stuff. She told me it was a bad thing to use bleach. I recalled many times sitting out in the sun, hair wrapped in glad wrap, 30 percent bleach burning my scalp. It didn't seem that bad to me. $15 and it worked.

So, $240 and three and a half hours later, I found myself with the same burning scalp, the same feeling of dread and excitement for the moment when they were washing and drying my hair for the third and last time. The first time had resulted in a "oops, not light enough" moment. Then the stuff was reapplied and left for long enough for me to read three tabloid magazines in their entirety.

I'm not sure if it was the hair dye, but I felt my brain melting after yet another Britney article.

Then I thought of bald Britney and got the fear. What if it vaporises my hair? What if they wash it off and it all disappears down the sink?

Get a grip, girl - this is 2008. They don't let things like that happen anymore. Do they?

Finally, the colour was revealed. Not bad at all. Very blonde, a little too yellowy for my liking. Still, I had to get out of there. I could not stand waiting for another hour while Britney and Angelina danced in my head. No more!

I asked my hairdresser to write down the colour and products, in case someone else (perhaps someone cheaper) had to do the regrowth. She wrote down a whole bunch of words on a card but only one word jumped out at me. Bleach. Which makes what she had said earlier kind of...wrong.

A strange thing happened in the next day or so. My hair started to morph into a strange brassy colour. My partner affectionately referred to me as "Violet Crumble".

For those of you who are not familiar with this tasty treat, honeycomb is nice for a chocky bar, not so much for a hair colour. My olive skin cannot tolerate any yellow or orange tones. Well, I had both. My partner wore sunglasses in reference to my hair. It wasn't even sunny! I had to do something, and fast.

I tried Decore Blonde Toner - it promised to tone down brassiness and cool the colour to a wearable shade.

Wrong!! It just made my hair a lovely shade of salmon.

So, panicked by my salmon hair and the prospect of going out in public, I made it my mission to visit as many chemists as possible to get the right product. "Magic Silver White" was always the best toner for blonde hair. Now the product had been discontinued I was becoming slightly worried.

Thankfully I found Roux Fanci-Full Rinse in "silver lining" - amazingly it worked just as well as Magic Silver White and the Violet Crumble er... crumbled into a memory.

Result: Success!!


I also found Magic Silver White on Ebay - it has been renamed "Brilliant Silver White". I ask you, a product is a favourite for years and they go and rename it so you can't find it easily! Anyway, the product is said to be true to the original formula and great for toning down brassiness. Highly recommended.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas has come a little early for me this year. I was thrilled to get the email announcing I had won the Lenovo Laptop from the DealsDirect Blogging competition.

The laptop arrived complete with Windows Vista Business, 1.66Ghz, 1G ram and 142 GB storage. (happy dance!)

The prizes were as follows:

Winner - One Lenovo Laptop

Runner Up - One 22" Monitor

10 X Runners Up win a 10MP Web Cam

Here is the laptop in all its glory:

A big thank you to DealsDirect. I am now a mobile blogger.

You can read the winning entry here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What do you get for the blogger who has everything? I know:

Just imagine the reaction from people you speak to everyday.
"Is she really? Did I say anything stupid? Incriminating? Oh sh!t, I mentioned the election!! Whatever will she write?"

What they don't realise is that I will be thinking "relax, I'm not blogging about you. Not unless you do anything that is spectacularly amusing or ridiculously silly. In fact, you are usually safe if you're not a customer service representative from any shopping outlet and you're not likely to be incredibly unhelpful or rude. You can relax now."

This is possibly the nerdiest t-shirt I have ever seen. With the exception of a select few, perhaps. But I love it. Because I am a nerd.

80s movie tees are back apparently.
I remember when anything 80s was so... well... 80s.
Wargames - the classic unbelievable nerd film. Like a computer with a 16k RAM card has the power to take over nuclear facilities and interact in an artificial intelligence capacity. "Would you like to play a game?" Yes, it's called "spot the plot hole".

Did I mention the nerdiest t-shirt of all time? I was wrong. P.S. if you get this, you are a nerd. If you laugh at it, you are also a geek.

And my favourite game of all time: Lemmings! Yaaaay! Such a simple concept - save a mass of suicidal lemmings using creative means like bridge building, hole digging, bashing and blocking.

If you miss this game (as I do!), you can play Lemmings right here, right now on your PC using this link: Play Lemmings in Your Browser

Ah, the nostalgia, the green hair... the bit where you kill all of them by blowing them up because you made a mistake... the guilt, the joys, the triumph...

The t-shirts can be found at teenormous.com / thinkgeek.com /mrcloud.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Recently I wrote about Freebies4Webmasters. I signed up, submitted 3 web pages for ad placement and gained approval. I was paid 10 pounds (around $20) after the first month and my blog post resulted in 10 referrals.

Then the problems started. My approved referrals should have earned me 100 pounds so far. Instead, my approved web pages mysteriously disappeared from the system around the time Freebies4Webmasters decided they were not accepting any new publishers.

I have been patient and tolerant up to this point but after 5 unanswered emails I am sensing a stone wall of scamminess.

I will keep the ads up for one more week, on the off chance I receive a reply. Kind of like Waiting for Godot. If I don't receive a response by then it will be bye bye Freebies4Webmasters. I feel quite cheated as I know many have received payments larger than the ones owed to me at this time. The exchange rate would have approximated to $233 plus around $10 per month as an automatic payment. Not happy. Needless to say I will not be recommending this site to fellow bloggers.


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Monday, November 10, 2008

I received a rather amusing email this morning - for a brief moment I thought it was for real. It is not unusual for me to get direct emails for various projects. However further reading exposed the extent of my wrongness:

I have a project I want you to run with us. It involves exportation of 100,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Kirkuk, Iraq.

If you are interested, email me.

Mr. Yan.

Hmm. Well thank you, Mr Yan, I appreciate your offer. As a humble blogger however, I do not happen to have room for 100,000 lazy barrels of crude oil in my garden shed. In fact, last time I checked I did not have room for a single barrel.

Why you would be still hoarding such a valuable resource is beyond me. You could have exported when oil prices were at their peak. I'm sorry, Mr Yan, you missed your chance. If you will just check the latest figures, the current price for oil is $61.04. What you should have done is tapped into your seemingly unlimited oil reserve in March 2008. $150 per barrel! Ah, the tragedy of hindsight.

Exporting from where? Iraq, you say. Gee, let me think...

Much as I would like to travel to a volatile region during wartime on the basis of a spam email, I think I'll pass. Thank you so much for your kind offer, not that I will respond because you are probably camping out in some evil hovel wherever on earth it is that spammers like to slither. But I can't help being a little disappointed. All my dreams of becoming an oil baroness. My backyard oil refinery will have to wait. *sigh*

Thus endeth my exploits at international business.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

If you are like me, ie. camped in front of the computer wide eyed and open mouthed, watching the pretty blue and red colours appear across the states, you might like to view the incoming results for the US Election 2008 on the following links:

BBC News US Election 2008 Results Map

This map requires Flash, but you will see the results as the votes are counted state by state.

SBS World News US Election Results 2008

The SBS World news map features a zoom to individual states to see the breakdown of votes by county.

CNN US Election Results 2008

Updated frequently, detailed information state by state.

Business Day NZ Latest US Election Results 2008

Updated less frequently, this coverage contains text updates and election results map.

P.S. I have no fingernails left.