. . .

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas everyone!! Hope it's a great holiday period for all!

I have noticed a lot of people on tv, news and the like repeating "let's not forget what Christmas is about."

By repeating this phrase, it is clear that we have indeed forgotten what Christmas is about and need to be reminded all the time.

The fact that we celebrate the birth and life of an ascetic by buying stuff is a bit beyond me. But then, I run a shopping blog so what do I know...

So we celebrate the birth of Jesus, a non-material man with meagre possessions who wandered the land healing people and performing miracles.

It's not actually about the arrival of a rather obesese, materialistic Coca-Cola manufactured dude in a red suit.

It would be interesting to know the percentages of children who realise that Christmas isn't about getting the new Nintendo Wii so they can gloat to their school friends who didn't receive the latest gadget.

I watched a YouTube video where a kid received a book as a present. His response was "What the heck is this?" It seems that the spirit of Christmas is out of reach for many people.

I hope in some small way, we all find our own peace on earth, whatever it may be.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This post brought to you by Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are 100% mine.

Tis the season to be jolly.  And buy a rather large selection of holiday gifts.  The feeling of relief when we have bought the last gift, the final tick off the list and it's time to relax.  Right now I am looking at stocking stuffers from Pier 1.  Plush animals are often a good bet, cuteness being the universal currency of gift giving.

These little fellas are in the  $14-24 range.   Choose from crocs, zebras and owl or even a monkey!

Being a Scorpio, I am also partial to a bit of astrologically targeted gift giving.  According to the "Astrologically friendly gifts" section on the site, Scorpios are one of the most enigmatic signs of the zodiac.  Well I already knew that!  But I think they have me pretty well pegged, as I am quite partial to a bit of ocean-inspired art and I love plush bed stuff!  I can't speak for all Scorpios but I am a fan of all things Conan-Doyle-ish.  That is, large mahogany desks, banker's lamps and of course, a beautiful wooden globe.

This globe is a perfect pressie under $50!

For the perfect Christmas gathering, my must have would have to be this "yoga frog" centrepiece (around $25!

Nothing says Christmas more than a meditating frog!  Add some peace and goodwill to your table with this serene froggy!

To make you feel even more peaceful and benevolent during the holiday season, for every person who "likes" Pier 1 Imports on Facebook, $1 will be donated to Toys for Tots so that Christmas will be a tiny bit merrier for those less fortunate than ourselves.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Today I tried once more to delve into the world of human shopping. Perhaps it would be quaint, that old world touch, brown paper packages tied up with string, old Mr Gibbons selling candy canes in the hand made sweet shop...

The behemoth of the multi-storey shopping centre loomed above me, taunting me, daring me to go inside...

"We have everything you need here. Join us..."

(say in Dark Lord of the Sith voice)

After 2.7 minutes of being in the shopping centre, the walls were beginning to close in. This place pretty much sucks. There really is no other way of putting it.

So I decided as a home furnishing expedition, I would buy some fabric for some curtains. Simple, yes?


Me (approaching the service desk at a well known and unnamed fabric store)
"Hi, I'm looking for some fabric, it's..."

"The fabric counter is THAT way." The 'customer service' girl points and sulks.

"Ok, thanks."

So I suppose the term "service desk" was some kind of decoy. A fabric shop with a service desk that doesn't help with fabric questions. Perhaps it was the button department.

I found the fabric I needed without any assistance from staff.

Then I took my fabric to the cutting desk.

"I'd like to cut this to approximately the size of a double bed. Do you know how long that would be?"

Cutting desk girl: "About 180cm."

"Okay, and it's how much per metre?"


"Okay, I'll get 2 metres, thanks."

She began to cut, carefully trimming the fabric in a straight line. She kept on cutting, trimming another piece. Hm, perhaps they cut in 1 metre bits, I thought.

"That will be 75.96"

"How much?


"For two metres?"

"Four metres."

"I asked for two metres."

She sighed, then glared at me.

"You said four metres."

"No, really, I asked for two metres."

Still glaring "Oh, and you just stood there and let me cut another piece?" Her aggression was palpable.

My hackles, feckles and any other ekles were well and truly up.
I gathered all my thoughts into one phrase.

....."Excuse me?" Stare....

She backed down a little. "Well, I thought you said four metres."

"No, I said two."

"That will be 37.98"

"Thank you."

Thus endeth the lesson. I will not be doing any more Christmas shopping in shopping centres, as they suck my will to live and make me want to kick in the Christmas decorations. I have decided that the frenetic and rather narky energy of shopping centres is detrimental to my Christmas spirit.

From now on I will be doing all my Christmas shopping on my new favourite online shopping sites.

With any luck I will preserve my remaining cheer in time for Christmas.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Housework can be a pain so I have decided that I need the best possible equipment for each task.  This means that I will not be settling for second best when it comes to hand held vacuum cleaners.

I don't want any ol' fluffy "Tiffany Handy Vac"

I don't want a no-suction, small nozzled, airy fairy piece o' junk.

No, I want the no-messing about, 750 watt super suction bad mother.

The "Piranha"

You don't mess around with a name like Piranha, you know it's going to do the job.

Whatever it takes. 

It is the Clint Eastwood of hand held vacuum cleaners.

"Go Ahead.  Eat My Dust."

(clench teeth)

"Do you feel lucky?  Well do ya?  LINT????!?!?"

Thursday, December 02, 2010

At the gym that I regularly frequent, I was presented with a dilemma.  It was a question of etiquette and considering I never went to finishing school OR carried a book on my head, I don't know the answer.  It goes something like this:

I entered the change rooms, ready to get into my running shoes and trackky gear.  This process usually takes me all of about 3 minutes.  The girl at the desk gave me my locker key - number 6.

When I rounded the corner, I was confronted by a woman.  She was completely stark bollock naked with her arms outstretched, and for some reason, her legs outstretched as well, facing the lockers.

Not only that, but she was spread-eagled in front of a particular locker.

Number 6.

My locker.

I knew she had heard me coming in, a slight tilt of her head acknowledged my presence in her vicinity.

So I hung back, not wanting to approach at this stage. 

I have this pedantic thing about not talking to completely naked strangers.

So I thought "well, maybe she just took off her bathing suit.  I suppose she'll dry off, get dressed and THEN I can ask her to move." 


She stayed where she was.  Swaying slightly, not using a towel and still standing like Leonardo's Vitruvian man.

"Oh crap."  I thought.  "Maybe she's air drying?"

She stayed for what seemed like 15 minutes but was probably more like 7.

Not moving.

Being  naked. 

Not using a towel.


"Maybe she's like that serial killer guy from Silence of the Lambs.  I'm definitely not talking to her until she is at least covered up in a towel or something.

She still didn't move.

"Maybe the Blair Witch is coming and she's been told to stand facing the wall.  Maybe I'm next!!  Aaargh!!"

This line of thought wasn't helping me.

I had meanwhile changed into my gear, sat down on the bench.  Waiting patiently, trying not to look directly at the rather frightening display in front of me. 

Then, something bizarre happened.  Another woman and a kid came in and started talking to Vitruvian naked scary woman.  And she miraculously grew clothes within a minimal space of time.

I chose my moment.

"Excuse me, could I get into number 6 please?"

"Oh, yeah, of course!"  she said, like it had been her intention all along.  She FINALLY capitulated and moved herself away.
As she disappeared (thankfully fully clothed) through the door with the other woman and the kid, I noticed something else. She wasn't even using a locker.  She could have gone anywhere.  It's a big place.

So I conclude with my not-so-subtle-plea/order/requirement/mandatory idea:


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I have been scouring the world of stupid t-shirts looking for the most idiotic, disturbing and whacked out t-shirts of them all.  This is no mean feat.  What constitutes a stupid t-shirt?  There is a fine line between humour and overshare, witty and obvious.  And of course, some t-shirts are just out and out wrong.

You be the judge:
(Warning, slightly non-kid friendly themes... and in no particular order)

1.  "It's My Network"

If you need this t-shirt to advertise that you are surrounded by scantily clad women then you probably aren't.  My advice to those considering buying a t-shirt such as this, firstly think "would James Bond wear this?"  If the answer is no, move along...

2.  "Ex Masturbator"

For the love of decency, people!  Why are you guys smiling?  Is this a joke?  Please, please take these t-shirts off... the market.

3.  "If You Can Read This, The Bitch Fell Off"

Obviously, this is the back of the t-shirt.  Clearly designed for motorbike riders.

I'm afraid that my sides have split from the witty subtlety of it all.  Can you spell lawsuit?

4.  "If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right"

All kinds of creepy.  Please don't wear it around Star Wars fans like me.  The fact that it happened once in the film was disturbing enough.

5.  "I Bought This T-Shirt To Cover Up My Muffin Top"
Um...  OVERSHARE!!!!

 6.   "Mormons etc. Are All Wrong!!"

It's a free country I suppose. But just because you can wear this t-shirt doesn't mean you actually should.  P.S. If you must wear it, make sure you avoid churches, mosques and remote temples on top of mountains, supermarkets, pubs, trains, planes and automobiles.

7.  "Stop Looking At My Chest!"

Fine, I will stop looking at your chest, as soon as I stop reading the big writing on your t-shirt that just happens to be located in your chestel region.

8.  "Don't Bother, I'm Not Drunk Yet."
If you read into the subtext of this, it speaks volumes.

9.  Jihad
Do not wear to airports.  Or anywhere with jumpy security.  You might find they haven't got a sense of humour.

10.  Justin Bieber t-shirt


Monday, November 29, 2010

What is Latency?

When you record directly from a microphone or instrument, the audio signal is sent to your computer, converted into a digital signal and then back into analog and sent to your speakers. This is the process responsible for causing the frustrating "lag" or latency effect, where your tracks are recorded "late". When you play back your tracks, your latest recorded track will be out of sync with the first one. If you have experienced this problem, you will be familiar with this effect and you are probably tearing your hair out daily.

Thankfully there are a number of ways to fix latency in Windows Vista.  You can try all of these or just a few to try to fix your latency problem:

1.  Upgrade your RAM

The faster your computer, the less likelihood of latency being a problem.  As the saying goes, "you can never be too rich or too thin".  Or have too much RAM.  Get a memory upgrade to at least 4GB if you can and ideally see if you can upgrade to the maximum your slots can take.  If you are unsure, speak to your nearest tech head or check forums and manufacturers pages.

2.  Download ASIO4ALL

ASIO4ALL is the universal ASIO driver for Win 98SE/ME/2k/XP/MCE/2003/XP64 and Vista/Windows 7 x86/x64.  For some, a quick download of this free program is all you will need to fix latency issues.  You may need to tweak the buffer and latency sliders until you reach an acceptable level of latency. 

4.  Upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

Unfortunately for many users, Windows Vista is S-L-O-W, notorious for maximizing latency and is known as a problematic operating system for multitrack recording.  I'm going to come right out and say it, it is definitely worth the investment upgrading now rather than tweaking away with Vista until you are blue in the face.  Windows 7 can help your machine work quicker and easier.  The minute I upgraded my laptop from Windows Vista to Windows 7, I instantly noticed the difference in speed.

5.  Get an Audio Interface

How does an audio interface improve latency?  An audio interface will replace your sound card for the time it is on and plugged into your machine.  With direct monitoring, your interface will bypass the latency loop so you hear your sounds in real time.

When I bought my M-Audio Fast Track, I found that it simplified recording into a "plug and play" experience, removed latency and on top of all that, made the recording software fun to use.  You can plug a microphone straight in to the XLR jack and guitar leads (or mic leads) plug straight in to the 1/4 in jacks.  Once you are plugged in, you just start recording.

The M-Audio Fast Track uses a "Direct Monitoring" (zero latency) button, allowing the user to hear the recorded tracks while hearing the track as you record.  For this stage you need to make sure that you have done these two things (important):

* Plug in speakers for monitoring your recordings
* Use headphones to monitor your sound while you are recording

If you have followed these steps, your direct monitoring should work fine.

Minimum System Requirements (PC)

Windows XP (SP3)* or Windows Vista 32/64 or WIN 7

Pentium 4 2.0GHz


one native USB port

* Home and Professional Edition only. Windows Media Center Edition is not supported.

Minimum System Requirements (Mac)

OS X 10.4.11 Or better

G4 processor**


one native USB port

** G4 accelerator cards not supported.


- Includes Pro Tools M-Powered Essential software

- Works with most popular recording software--including Pro Tools M-Powered 8*

- 1/4 in. instrument input: Record guitar, bass and keyboards

- Phantom powered XLR mic input: Use dynamic and studio-grade condenser microphones

Stereo RCA outputs: Easily connects to your stereo system or powered monitors

You will need the updated drivers to install the Fast Track on Windows 7.  M-Audio has now released compatible drivers for Windows 7 in 32 bit and 64 bit:


*  Download M-Audio driver (if you don't know if your system is 32 bit or 64 bit, click the "Start" button (bottom left corner), right click on "computer" and select "properties", "system".  Windows 7 will tell you what version you are running.

*  Install the driver exe file by double clicking, wait until Windows 7 notifies you that installation has been and the M-Audio icon shows up in your taskbar:

*  Plug in your M-Audio Fast Track.

*  Plug in your microphone or instrument jack and start recording!

There are more expensive audio interfaces on the market, it just depends on your needs as to which one to buy.  In my case, I needed something simple and this interface fitted the bill perfectly.  By all means, if you have the funds and the inclination, go for a more expensive model.

Other audio devices worth considering:


Important note: what works for some people may not work for you.  Do your research and get independent advice.  All systems are different and results may vary from one setup to another.  There will always be a possibility that an audio interface will not work so understand the risks when taking any advice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This is the perfect solution to the diet question:

What treats can I have?

Well, I have come up with yet another diet (I should be launching these as books!) for those watching their weight.

It's called the "Inedible" Diet

1.  The treats look delicious
2.  The magic of imagery tricks you into thinking you have eaten cakes and pastries
3.  They serve an ornamental function as jewellery

**Note:  mind you don't try and eat these, they are made from polymer clay!

Mini diet piece #1:  Carrot Cake Charm

Mmm.  Yum yum!  No need to worry about portion sizes!

Mini diet piece #2:  Mini Christmas Cookies

Don't mind if I do, I suppose another one won't hurt...

Mini diet piece #3:   Cupcake Charm

Do I wear them?  Or eat them?  Heck with it, I'll just look at them!

And of course, what banquet would be complete without....

Mini diet piece #4:  Mini Gefilte Fish

Alright!  Gimme the fish already!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Disclaimer: although pretty tame, if you are under 18 or easily offended, this is not for you.

I was watching a comedian on TV talking about edible underwear and the concept has floated in my mind for days.

The first question I would ask is "why"?

The second thing that really started to bother me was the "material" from which they are made.  This comedian mentioned the stuff that edible underpants are made from and it's been giving me nightmares.

So it's a sticky, sugary, fruity sheet type thing.  Designed for.. well actually, I don't really want to think about what they are for.  Use your imagination.  Or don't.  Preferably don't.

The thing that bothers me the most is that you are supposed to wear these things as underwear.  I don't want to go into too much detail but there are two problems with this.

1.  It's warm down there.

2.  Hair

Now if you get someone who is over enthusiastic and tries to take these things off quickly...

Well, only a qualified beautician should be allowed to do that.  Under strict, clinical conditions using the proper utensils.

It baffles me how shoving a couple of fruit rollups down your dacks is somehow deemed to be alluring to the opposite sex.

Each to his/her own I suppose.

In any case, if you do ever buy/use/eat?!!?! these things, exercise extreme caution, lest you experience an instant Brazilian.

Friday, October 15, 2010

If you have just bought a new laptop, or a netbook you don't necessarily want to order Microsoft Office, Windows 7 and various other security software packages all over again.

So what is the alternative?

I found this excellent site called Get the Free Version, which, strangely enough, shows you the free version or equivalent of popular software titles.

Instead of Microsoft Office, try Open Office.  It's free.  And open source.  And did I mention it's free?

Instead of Windows, try Ubuntu.  Again, free.

And if you aren't keen on forking out for another Photoshop, try Gimp.  Strange name, but it's FREEEE!

For more open source windows programs, you could try Opensourcewindows or Osswin.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My latest purchase consists of a great new LED photon light device, used to correct uneven skin tone and various other skin concerns.
The device itself is great, works perfectly, I am very happy indeed.

LED Photon Light Device

The part I found most amusing about the whole transaction was the instruction leaflet.  Please note, I am not joking and this leaflet really contains these phrases.

"Colourful Photon Skin Tenderizer"

I'm somehow nervous already...

Main benefits
  • Light waves irradiate skin cells
What the hey?...
  • Promotes rebuilding of collagen fibers and other flexible fibers
Like cotton?  Or spandex perhaps?  I've got some old bike shorts need repairing...

And finally,

Please stop the operation in case any stimulated phenomenon

Stimulated phenomenon?  What, like my compass and watch stopping on a deserted road?

Trust no one!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

When geek and love collide, it looks something like this....
Geek Love Poem (The following T-Shirts are courtesy of Think Geek)

Alright, I get the first part, what's with the "base are" bit?

That's not even proper English!

***Holds eyes tightly shut while waiting for inevitable berating comment from Xanthar Doomsayer III (aka Colin)***

Intimate nerd apparel

Please don't blog this.  Please.  Really.

Love vs chocolate - chocolate wins
For when love is not forthcoming
...or I just prefer chocolate...  SORRY!! Theobromine.

Love is... free IT support

I should have bought one of these at age 14...

When 2 geeks fall in love, and make little geeks, there is really only one option:

That's two options.  FAIL.  *smacks forehead*

And completely unrelated...
Haley Joel Osment I Ain't

I don't think I've got enough space to fit all these t-shirts but I might just have to buy them all.  Starting with this one. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ebay has made some updates to include a number of features designed to help the ebayer um... buy stuff.

So the first change includes a diversification of the watch list.

Personally, I love the watch list, it shows me everything I'm GOING to buy.  And it always seems to work out that I do manage to buy most of the things on my watch list.

Now we have some new lists:

Watch List (existing)
Gift Ideas (new)
Research (new)
Wish List (new)

So when you find an item you like/love, and you "add to list", you now have a choice:

For me, my watch list IS my wish list but... I can dig it.

The gift ideas list is a great addition - you can be super organised when it comes to birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas.  This is a feature I will be using frequently.

Research is an interesting one.  I thought I was the only person who did research on ebay.  Apparently not.  I will no doubt use this section as well.  This section is appropriate for forming an opinion about a type of product or category.  For example, "Windows 7".  You can compare prices, types/versions (eg. home, professional) , features etc. before you make your final decision.  The research section will be handy for those items that I will be purchasing in the future.

I love the idea of breaking up lists into categories.  Too many times I have found myself with 50 watched items and no idea where to start.  Now the items can be broken down into bite sized pieces.  You can also create your own customised lists (say, the name of a gift recipient or a category).  I can see myself having a bit of fun with this!

For more fun with ebay, check out my updated "Let's Go Shopping" sidebar ->>>>>

Monday, August 23, 2010

On my travels this weekend I found myself shopping around for a hairdresser.

My hair has reached the stage where I can make a wig from sheddings and every time I try and sleep it wraps around my neck and tries to strangle me.

During my midday stroll I found a likely prospect:

Medusa Hairdressing.

This is an actual hairdresser, I did not make it up.

After struggling with the idea of getting my hair cut at such a place I came up with some possible sub headings for their display window:

"Our hairstyles kill the competition"

"Stop men dead in their tracks"

"Midweek Discount - Snake Extensions"

"Who Needs Gel When You've Got Stone?"

"No mirrors guarantee"

But is Medusa the best name to really "get people in".
I'm not sure a beheaded snake haired woman who turned men to stone just by looking at them is exactly the appropriate connotation for a supposed beauty outlet.

Don't get me wrong.  Medusa was a noteworthy beauty.
It's just that she was headless and stuck in a bag by Perseus only to be brought out to stun warriors into a rather nasty death.

What's Next?

Minotaur China Shop?

Zeus Electrical?

Hellhound Kennels?

Siren Shipping?

Icarus Airlines?

Or how about

Cyclops Optometrists:

"We keep our 'eye' on our competitors"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tiger is still number 1. At the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, he played an excruciating round of 77, topped only by the even more horrendous 78 from Phil Mickelson.

Tiger had a bad day, Phil had a worse one, and Tiger should be glad.

In an "I'm-so-glad-for-playing-the-worst-round-of-my-life-glad-but- I'm-glad-Phil-didn't-score-in-the-top-four-and-knock-me-off-my-number-one-position-glad".

Which isn't very glad.

But... tomorrow is another day. And Tiger is not the kind of player you can just write off because he had a bad tournament.  No doubt he will be back to the drawing board, ironing out all the bad shots, analyzing the mistakes and going through everything with a fine toothed-comb until his game is back on track.

Tiger has also decided to play in the Ryder cup if captain Corey Pavin offers him a wild card entry.  He has also mentioned that the lack of helicopters and reporters following him around is a welcome change and that his life is starting to "normalize".  Perhaps these conditions will herald a return to form for the world's No 1 golfer in the near future.