Category Archives: General

Australian Coat of Arms

The Kangaroo and Emu

Standing astride our national coat of arms are the Kangaroo and the Emu. National symbols of pride? Of our unique culture and Australian fauna?

No, the kangaroo and emu form part of our leading food sources! Are there other nations that treat their nationally recognised coat of arms as good tucker?

The UK coat of arms boasts a lion and a unicorn – so can assume they don’t eat those. Henry VIII had a dragon and a dog … again don’t think it formed part of their daily cuisine. In the US, it’s the bald eagle … endangered species and highly protected.

But here in good ole Oz we take our national symbols of pride and proudly serve them on the dinner plate!

You got to love the Aussie way!

What Keeps You Fit

Well last night I was back up at the local squash court forcing ny body to move in ways it clearly wasn’t designed to!20111117-233649.jpg

I started squash about 10 years ago – with the onset of my 30’s I noticed the departure of health. With kids, work, and responsibility it allowed little time for something selfish like exercise. After all it almost seems self indulgent!

Taking time out to get fit – or maintain these amazingly developed curves (rolls) became a luxury and so any definition I may have had was smoothed into gentle rolling waves of “looser” muscle. 🙂

The battle with weight catches up with most of us and, at least in my case coincided with a growing interest in food. Getting on the scales and seeing weights a test batsman would be proud of galvanised me into action.

So I stumbled into a squash court, took up a nice easy game that doesn’t overly test your fitness … well not originally because I couldn’t run after the first or second shot!

How Important is Exercise?

We pay so much attention to our finances, our worklife, our family – sometimes fitness becomes a distant memory, a long lost treasure of youth.

For anyone younger reading this it might sound ridiculous, it might appear unnecessary, for weight just never sticks to you – “I can eat and drink what I like and never put on weight” – well just “weight”, it will catch up.

So is fitness a high priority? Is it something that gets you up pounding the pavements at 5:00 am? Or, like me as I was cruising through my early 30’s, was it something that seemed to silently depart without you even knowing leaving a rather larger version of you as a result?

12 Angry Men

In the famous scenes of 12 Angry Men a panel of jurors were called to deliberate on a case which gradually turned as discussions ensued.20111114-090556.jpg

Well now it’s my turn, asked to attend the panel selection process for a 4 week trial. Four weeks seems a ridiculous amount of time to be extracted from life!

I understand someone’s life is in the balance, further that (at least in Australia) it’s a duty of citizenship – but for most people who are employed a 4 week break is extremely disruptive.

Trial of Patience

The first impression is that the process is a long drawn out system of attrition.

First is the briefing in small groups, then a large group briefing, a video, small groups, individual interviews, callouts and finally enpanelment.

Oh well, I’m seeing a theme to recent blogs around a teat of patience, from Manila to court – happy days!

PS Couldn’t upload this while in court complex but the update is I’ve been excused 🙂 which I’m pretty darn happy about.

Check 1 2 Check

So ends a whirlwind trip to Manila – and in true Manila fashion ends with the chaos of the airport.

I love the Philippines, its culture, people, their spontaneity and confusion.
Starting with the traffic, the smells, the labour surplus for every job.

The Filipinos are an amazing people, extremely loving and generous.

So to finish the trip it’s braving the airport – and with so little ability to predict the traffic we’ve left 3 hours to get to the airport – knowing like each of the last few trips it will only take 15 – 20 minutes!

It’s a true test of patience departing from Manila – the dozens of check points, the lack of commercial acumen, the chaotic nature all culminating in massive delays. But, now used to all this, I’m prepared – I have a blog to write.

Did we check you in?

You arrive at Manila airport and pass through the security quadrant, then through security screening – you’ve made it to the entrance!

Check your bags, pay customs and through security screening – check 1 2, check.

Approach the gates and, oh, through security screening – did I miss the exit to the roundabout?

We’re now into the main terminal, moving to our departure gate – the flight is called and … through security screening, bag check, frisk down, shoe check, passport and boarding pass check and now we’ve arrived at the gate.

Locked in literally to a cordoned off area. Hope you don’t need to go to the loo! 20111112-204450.jpg

To top it all off … flights are delayed by an hour and a half … but that’s the Philippines. I’m in travel mode so expect the wait.

Salamat Manila, I love travelling here – but please get some decent food and a few shops at the airport – Jollibee just doesn’t cut it! 🙂

The World Game

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Great chance to see the opening game of Australia’s A League with Sydney’s first home game against Brisbane Roar.

Good time with my dad and brother – albeit watching a loss!

Cracker game, 0 – 2 score.

Musical Momentum

Music makes a scene. It creates the atmosphere.

Great Soundtracks

We are moved by music it’s deep in our culture and our psyche. It stretches the limits, it elicits memories, it’s our favorite song, it’s the first time when … a song can recall all sorts of memories and feelings.

Some of the most successful movies have the best soundtracks. Running a questionnaire on our FB page and enjoying the responses.

How could you get the Sound of Music without The Hills are Alive. Or Saturday Night Fever without Stayin’ Alive, and come on, 2001 The Space Odyssey – it connected aliens with humans.

The list is endless, great soundtracks that just a few notes bring back the whole feeling, like The Godfather, The Mission, The Sting … I know I’m showing my vintage!

Music creates the emotion, it can lead us into fear, joy, passion, laughter, even aggression – think of Rocky. It was hard not to leave the cinema throwing punches at the biggest bloke you could find!

Top Movie Soundtracks

When I think of great movies most include a great soundtrack … a few of my picks

  • Good Morning Vietnam
  • Remember the Titans
  • Shawshank Redemption – oh the opera!
  • Maybe not GREAT, but Footloose 🙂
  • Grease!
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou
  • Once
  • Happy Feet!!!
  • Lion King (yes, I have kids)

I’m sure I’ve missed some great one’s … any others that just have to be there?

The Maca’s Phenomenom

Why is it that McDonalds is so appealing to kids?

The colours? The food? Toys? Well it’s all that plus the experience.

We all love eating out

I was watching my kids devour burgers/nuggets and chips like they hadn’t eaten since Christmas! While a home cooked meal meets the chorus of “I don’t like it”.

I guess us adults have similar views of going out to a nice restaurant, cooked by someone else, then cleaned by someone else!

I’m not a huge fan of Maca’s but got to give it to them for creating an experience that appeals to kids, and a safe haven for parents.

Love them or hate them – they are good at what they do.

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Icebreaker or Conversation Killer

Insert your convesation herePicture this image, you meet a stranger and start a discussion – in fact it becomes a long one. What do you discuss?

Yesterday I met a tourist promoting a charity, hoping to sign me up as a sponsor. We struck up a conversation. I saw an opportunity to recruit a part time copywriter and chatted about dLook.

At no point did I feel I was confronting, nor did I feel I was out of line. In fact I had a great opportunity to help her earn a few extra dollars.

Similarly, if I meet the owner of a business, I’m quick to launch into promoting online advertising, again I believe in the product, I know that for most businesses dLook offers a great product and it’s a great offer.

When I’m chatting with friends I feel no issue talking about a recent movie or expressing an opinion even if different to their own. If I’ve come across a good restaurant, a cool YouTube video or website I’ve stumbled upon – sure, I’ll chat about it.

Even people I don’t know well, casual acquaintances, I can be embroiled in debate over carbon tax, welfare, the environment.

At no time during these conversations do I feel I’ve stepped on someone’s toes, or been too polarizing in my views.

But if I talk about my faith, my Christian beliefs, mention the word Jesus or the bible, then I may see a different reaction. Why?

I believe in my faith, I feel I can share a great opportunity (like dLook there is a need to recruit people), I absolutely believe in the “product” or message. In terms of promoting a great story or life changing “carpe diem” moment what’s more important than eternal life? Yet, this subject is off limits, it’s taboo! For many, even the inclusion in this blog post is confronting, or maybe I’m tagged a bible basher. But why?

I can ask you to like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, I can promote my blog, though if I promote my Christian beliefs then I’m stepping on toes. I’d really like to understand why we can try to help someone improve their career, we can even help with “life coaching” but death coaching … different story.

How about you? What do you discuss? Fill in the conversation bubble – are you an ice breaker or a conversation killer? And if I were to approach you about my faith what’s the right way? How would you like me to broach the subject?

No More Big Banana

Big Banana Coffs HarbourAustralia is home to the Big Banana, it’s the staple of every shopping trolley and features in lunch packs of children throughout the nation. In fact Australians love their bananas so much they compete with Coca Cola for the number 1 product sold by supermarkets week in week out.

Well that was the case until flaming bananas skyrocketed to $14.00 plus per kg. For the American audience that’s around US$30 per pound.

Prices per banana, one single banana, now range upwards of $2.00 each – well that settles the daily lunches. Better start enjoying a good red delicious apple at $2.49 per kilo!

Going Bananas

I know this is a bit of a rant, but food prices are absolutely going through the roof. It’s not just bananas, it’s the overall food bill – to eat fresh produce is incredibly expensive.

For the same $2 it costs to get a banana I can purchase the Double Beef ‘n’ Cheese hamburger at McDonalds. Surely this is a much more preferred option for our children’s lunch boxes!

Ridiculous statement I know, but you get the point. Total fat in a banana – a whopping 1 gram, in the McDonalds Double Beef n Cheese hamburger – a modest 23.4 grams. But it’s 5 cents cheaper than the average banana!

While bananas get smaller we’re getting bigger.

The Case of the Missing Bananas

Quite obviously the plight of Australian bananas has been subject to Cyclone Yasi: the crops were wiped out, limited supply – same demand – increased price. Simple economics

Yet who is the recipient of these huge margins, the bananas that are left certainly didn’t cost more to produce, they didn’t cost more to transport, nor to pack or store. So where is the additional $9 – 11 per kilo going?

Oh to be altruistic and suggest the additional costs are going back into the rural communities that were destroyed. That cockey’s are getting together to rebuild their farms on the back of the generosity of the major supermarkets. That the Country Women’s Association are receiving sizable grants in support.

Call me skeptical, call me naive, but I’m guessing there hasn’t been much of a boost in the donations to CWA.

Well they say it only takes a few weeks to form a habit. How long can these prices sustain? I can only imaging the wastage that’s occurring – very few people are putting bananas in their trolley now.

Some Banana Facts

So farewell to our bananas, the love of our nation, the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, the wonderful herb growing plants that produce this golden, sometimes purple fruit!

Did you know …

  • Banana plants are the largest plants on Earth without a woody stem. Belong to the same family as orchids and lillies.
  • India is the largest producer of Bananas in the world
  • There are over 500 varieties of bananas including purple ones
  • They grow bananas in Iceland … seriously, Google it!
  • Fidel Castro’s dad was a banana plantation owner.

All in all I’m not going bananas anymore! I’m moving onto oranges, at least in Australia they are now in season.

Bar Coded

Here’s my branding,
What’s your standing?
It’s a no no –
To have no logo.
Here’s your class,
What’s your category?
Sit over there …
That’s where you fit.

I’m a generalisation,
I’m the typical one.
Sit between 20 and 41.
Just a part of a culture,
My beliefs are the same.
Choices are all just
a societal pain.

Part of a category,
Target market.
Just one of many,
Not one of few.
Potential consumer,
A passing number –
Ask the TV what
I’m meant to do

Telephone canvass,
Customer poll,
Marketing blitz –
Taking its toll.
Just another consumer,
Target market,
Someone please tell me
What I’m meant to do.

Another early poem, from somewhere a decade or so ago 🙂

I had to post this quickly … as when it was written didn’t expect I’d have to worry about passing 41!