Wednesday, November 28, 2007

House Affordability

I was moaning about my mortgage at work today. (oh whats new?) Housing is getting damn near unaffordable for a lot of people. This latest housing boom is out of whack and houses cost double what they did a short while ago. So anyway I was moaning about my mortgage and an elder colleague of mine said "But its always been like that, there are always housing booms"
True, but this latest one is completely out of scale. See above graph.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Slash Fiction - The NSFW story

When I was a girl (not that I ever was girly) when you had a crush on someone famous, you put their poster on your wall. Sometimes cut their pictures out of magazines and put them on your school books with clear Duraseal. Many afternoons walking home from school filled with fantasies about a chance meeting and of course eventual marriage with said crush.

You may have noticed that todays youth don't keep anything to themselves. They live their lives online, holding almost nothing back. Even those afternoon daydreams about celebrities and rock stars now have a place online. These day dreams are filled out to short stories, well written and carefully crafted. Those stories would fall under fan-fiction, where you take your favourite celebs and write a wonderful adventure for them. It sounds cute and charming.

Slash fiction is another fish all together. Here the fantasies are imbibed with turbulent sexuality and adolescent curiosity. These are the "Kirk loves Spock" stories, the "Harry and Dracos magical experiment" stories and weirdly, "Every member from 'Panic at the disco' doing every other member of Panic at the disco" stories.

Yes, you can no longer just idolise you favourite band. Instead the youth feel compelled to write homo erotic fiction about them on live journal instead. My little social bookmarking site is rife with links to such stories. Interestingly most are written by females....
“Overwhelmingly, fan fiction is mostly written by women,” said Jenkins, author of “Normal Female Interest in Men Bonking,” an essay on slash fiction.
“If it’s okay for two guys to fantasize about two women, it’s an equal opportunity for women.”
(quoted from the naughty american)

Its a kind of "damn, there goes my childhood" feeling when I see the characters of my favourite books exploring their sexuality. And don't think your childhood characters are safe, there are over 72587 slash fiction authors on the adult fanfiction site. Chances are one of them wrote it.(Harry potter slash fiction is the most popular on the net right now as teen girls write about their childhood heroes) But that happens today, content is taken, thrown on its ear, with a bit of this and that added and presto its becomes something different, something inspired and original created out of the old. (ah Mashups) Sometimes, like a monkey with a hammer, nothing good can come of it. And other times, you accidentally get sucked into to reading an epic amount of pages before you realise its slash fiction and its about your TV show. And when you do, you keep reading because the writing is good and you have to see how it ends.

SGA fans recommended for cuteness of.

Star trek fans...........

Too Much Packaging

I am a bad person. I bought dental floss. As far as I can see dental floss already comes in a box. But now its comes in a box in a plastic box. I am so swayed by packaging, it was probably the biggest "box" of dental floss and it had some new gimmick. Pasty floss. I bet it will be terrible.
On first impressions, its big floss. I feel like I am about to floss with rope, but its very soft. It slides between my teeth okay, Im not feeling this paste effect though. Hmmmm not much fraying, thats good. Feels good between the teeth, but is doesn't seem to get all the way down to the gum line.

Well its okay. Slightly better than average floss (because lets face it, average floss is crap). Its not as good as my Reach Easyslide pro floss. Now that gets right down into all the creepy gaps.

Spontaneous floss review this was not supposed to be.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Your past, My past. Where I am.

I cant help but trust dogs. Its a flaw, because not all dogs can be trusted. But I used to have a great dog. Loyal to the very end. And I grew up and moved away and left him behind, but he never forgot me. He always greeted me with a wagging tail. Best dog ever.

My past experiences are a mixed bag. But hey, we all have baggage and so far we can't change the past (a life time of reading science fiction novels tells me it wont be long before we can). My life to date, my experiences have shaped me and made me who I am today.

I like who I am. Mostly. (I mean I wish I was less judgemental and more social and more caring in general) But I am who I am. I think I'm okay. I am happy. (actually I'm really happy!) I have stress, but its just small stuff. The big picture stuff is going sweet.

I am internal. That means I believe that I am responsible for my own fate and happiness. That my own thoughts and not external factors determine my happiness. I have low points like everyone, but I bounce back very quickly. The only depression I ever suffered was due to the pill and obviously I don't take that one anymore.

I have discounted my teenage angst. I went through it, so does everyone. Its over (thank god) I've let it go. Of course it molded me, but it doesn't hurt me anymore.

And now today, in the present. I do things that make me happy. I've only got one chance at it.

I am the sum of all influence, experience past. I am nothing more than memories and teachings of twenty years ago. I am five, I am thirteen, I am seventeen and twenty seven.

I am all that you made me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sounds closing due to "pirates" arrrrrrrrrrrrr.


To blame illegal downloads for your company's demise is weak. CD sales are actually up this year and sales in the new digital format are sky rocketing.

The reason your stores experienced falling sales is due to pricing and no longer being cool. Your CD's were often $10 more than anywhere else and your stores sucked. You didn't move with the times and now you pay the price.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

emotions, who needs em.

What to do when things are out of your control?
What to do when things don't affect you, but hurt the ones you love?
How can you fix something when it is none of your business?

I'm sitting here with that heavy empty chest feeling tinged with the astringent bile taste of stress induced acid reflux. Its a bad situation. But I can't do anything about it. I wish I could step in and fix things, but I feel like there is too much emotion for anything to ever be solved rationally and its not really my place, not really my business, not anything to do with me anyway.

I just have to sit back and watch this train wreck of a situation unfold.

My chest hurts.

Bah, but however bad it is for me, its got to be a thousand times worse for those involved.

I need a cup of tea.

Scientician out.

Wont somebody think of the patients!?

Well hospital security was out in force yesterday. I got my ID inspected on the way into the hospital by two security guards. For the first time in two years I've had to prove who I am to even get on the grounds.
I talked to one of the security folk later in the day and he explained that they were cracking down on expired ID cards and fake IDs. Then as an aside he mention that with all that terrorism bru ha ha you can't be too careful these days.
Well the day that North Shore hospital is the target of a terrorism attack will be a sad one indeed, I like to think that New Zealand extremists are unlikely to attack the hospital. But who knows what goes on inside a radical mind. I only hope this isn't the beginning of a slide into a culture of paranoia.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mintshot HA HA!

Poor ol mintshot, hacked within days of going live.

The site offers mintshot dollars for watching adds, you can then use the mint shot dollars to bid on auctions (hey I won a CD!) or use them to try your luck at the mint tick game. Actually its a bit of stretch to call it a game. Its pure luck, no skill involved, you click dots on a grid to reveal either a green tick or a red cross. The idea is to reveal as many ticks before you get a red cross, which ends the game. Scores of 14 - 21 were not uncommon, but last night scores of over 60 started appearing, thats more ticks than are on the grid!

If you were smart, surely you would have just used your leet haxor skills to just win yourself one big prize by the slimmest of margins. I believe there was more than one haxor though which doesn't say much for the programming of the site.

Here's the email I got today from the mintshot team

it pays to watch

Hi there,

There has been a security breach in the Mint Tick game which has
allowed a handful of users to tamper with the Mint Tick auction
system. Naturally repeat offenders have been removed from the
system. Thanks to those members who have contacted us regarding
the security hole. Due to the breach we have decided to remove
the Mint Tick auctions from the site for the next few days. It
is essential that we keep a fair, fun and
productive place and we are working hard to resolve the Mint
Tick issue. Once we have rectified the issue with the Mint Tick
product we will re-instate the auctions that were running.
Thanks to everyone for your continued feedback which will allow
us to further improve the site.

All the best,

Marc and the Mintshot team.
It Pays to Watch

I wonder how long this website will survive, at the moment its giving away megabucks worth of stuff and all you have to do is watch ads. It reminds of AllAdvantge, a pay to surf scheme from a few years ago (add bar at the bottom of your browser) I managed to get $60 before the company went bust though. Get in while the going is good I suppose.

Monday, November 19, 2007

ethics and where you stand

Cows are the devil
I don't agree with striking in my line of work. I agree with the right to strike but I don't like the consequences in a hospital setting.

So when I started at North Shore Hospital I refused to join the union.

For the first time in my life, I have to negotiate my own contract.
Its a little daunting.

However, today while doing the ordering for our departments consumables I spent more than my humble salary in less than an hour so there should be enough wiggle room in the budget to give me a raise. Lab supplies in New Zealand are very overpriced. Most are American made, and then pass through two middle men (one of which is usually in Australia) before we can get our hands on them.

Its pretty hard to order direct. We tried, and had a visit from a MAF official keen to confiscate our 1ml of cyclinD1 antibody because it contained bovine serum. Since we had used 80% of the antibody anyway it was decided that 200 microlitres of purified cow posed little threat, but we were never ever to do it again. NEVER EVER! Apparently the middle men (businessmen) are certified to import these things, but as a hospital we couldn't possibly know the first thing about handling antibodies.

save us jeebus.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

its all over!

Theres something about spending an hour washing and detailing the car and then spending 2 hours weeding and digging the garden on a hot summer day that completely weakens your resolve for buying beer.
So I caved and purchased a six pack of Montieths Radler.

So my little experiment is over but its been interesting.

I think I have conquered a few spending habits. I doubt I will buy my lunch at work ever again. The lunches I made were pretty good and it saved me quite a lot of money.

I will keep up the habit of catching the bus to work 3-4 days a week.

And the once a week grocery shop and NO visits in between. I enjoyed that the most. I hate supermarkets and I hate malls and it was quite a relief to only visit once a week. When I went down to get my beers I was agitated and annoyed within 20 seconds of walking in the door. People are a nightmare.

Religions often have times of reflection and deprivation like Lent or Ramadan. As an aetheist I think its important to incorporate similar times into my life to reflect on my own choices and how I live my life. I was making a lot of purchases without thinking, I was like a drone, a consuming machine. Its nice to be actively thinking again. (Although also horrifying, supermarkets are the devil.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

More free money? I am so freaking generous

Well not money, but vouchers.
I always used to think that the get paid to do surveys thing was a scam. But AC Nielsen is legit and I've got $40 worth of vouchers already. Surveys are done online, at your convenience and are about 10 minutes to complete usually.

You get points for surveys. You trade in points for vouchers. You pick the store Mitre 10, Living and Giving, Dick Smith, Hoyts, and Farmers just to name a few.

Every now and then they need to add more members to the survey panel. So they get existing members to refer people. Thats me.
So if you want in on the gravy train click here and sign up!

Day 11- Its Sunday again?

Grocery shopping day.

I hate grocery shopping. It is one of the few tasks that fills me with dread. I leave it till Sunday evening, which is a nice quiet time at the supermarket and it means my food is freshest for my home made lunches.

Why I hate it.

1. It takes too long. I don't know how I can do it faster, I take a list, I arrange the list to store layout, I never back track. It still takes me freakin ages.

2. People are inconsiderate. Trolleys in the middle of aisles and parking trolleys two abreast in the aisles. As if that is a good idea? People at the checkout remembering they're forgot the cheese running back to get it leaving you to wait. The cheese is gone, you are walking out of here without the cheese, if its not in your trolley at the checkout you aint buying it.

3. Stocking. I don't know how they always manage to be out of the same stuff. If you are always running out of a particular item, then perhaps, just perhaps.. you need to stock more of it?

4. Packs of three. Three steaks, three chicken fillets, three avocados. I knows theres families of three out there. But how about packs of two. Because less people are breeding these days.

5. Checkout operators throwing my apples into the trolley, packing tinned food on top of my mushrooms and squishing my bread. I know your job sucks, I wish you had a better job too. Please don't beat the crap out of my food! See I have even loaded it onto the conveyor beat with all items arranged from square and firm to soft and delicate, so all that stuff goes in last! I can work with you on this.

6. Its always costing more. Inflation is a fact of life. My grocery bill is inflating like a bastard.

The other option is buying online. Foodtown offers this service and I have been tempted but Foodtown is significantly more expensive than my usual supermarket Pac n Sav. Either I fork out more money and save myself the pain of grocery shopping, or I save that money by enduring the horrors of Pac n Sav. I shoose to save the money.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

what I want for christmas

Oh my favourite web comics. let me show you them. xkcd has a store. I want the t-shirts!
XL please, cause I like wine and cheese and chocolate and burgers and I also have large boobs.
Its the truth people.

And you thought my book shelves were cool!

View of the Blue City from the Jodhpur Fort
Jodhpur, India, March 2001

I'm for more colour in our lives. Imagine what the view from my balcony would look like if there were more vibrantly coloured rooftops. I can only dream of a more artistic future, were beige or pale white apartment buildings are banned and colour rules the streets.

Day 10 - Making your own luck

I am a lucky person. I have good fortune and happiness that fills my days.

Part of being lucky and happy is simply just wanting to be happy and lucky and therefore doing things that make you happy or lucky.

For example, every night that I want, my favourite shows are on TV, its like they have programmed it just for me! I am just channel surfing away and then BAM! One of my favourite TV shows is on! This happens every night, not just Fridays or Tuesdays but every night that I sit down to watch TV. Sure its mostly reruns, but they are still my favourite TV shows of all time.

Of course I make it happen, sure it may be weird but even artificially induced feelings of luck and happiness will make your more lucky and happy over time. So on nights when I feel like watching a bit of TV to wind down I throw one of my favourite DVDs into the player and without looking I press all the buttons to get an episode started. (Hey if its your favourite its no trouble to get it going before you put the tv on). So then I turn on the TV and channel surf to see if anything goods on. If there is something awesome to watch, great! but if its all looking like crap then I just flick the remote to av input and "OMG my favourite TV show is on, whew it looks like I only just missed the first few minutes"

I am weird. But happy weird!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Day 9 - No beer for you!

Day nine of my experiment and also another Friday. The dreaded pub day. It was hot, the mornings work had been gruelling yet my efficiency outstanding. By 12 we were ready to walk out the door and off to lunch at Mad Dogs and Englishmen, a pub in a ridiculous spot at the back of the Milford shops. I grabbed a free water and it was gone in minutes and the sun beat down mercilessly on the back of my neck, I can't believe none of my workmates even offered to buy me a beer!


Not that I am bitter, after all I am now home, sipping on a surprising little chardonnay and wasting the afternoon away with good ol' you tube favourites.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Day 8 - Did you miss out on my email?

The RaboPlus promotion has begun! (see previous post)

If you want some free money click here!

Only the first 15 of my friends to sign up get the free money.

And one spot has already been taken! They got a free cash gift of $31! Sweet deal!
I'm going to start a list of how much money you guys have won!

1. $31
2. $32
3. $32
4. $31
5. $30
6. $30
7. $29
8. $31
9. $30
10. $26
11. $34
12. $26
13. $29
14. $34
15. $35

Total amount my friends have won $460

Well thats it, thats the 15 referrals all gone. No big prizes but it looks like everyone at least got beer money! Don't forget if you open your account you go into another draw for 4 x $1000 deposits into your account.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Would you like free money?

I have a Raboplus savings account.

Its an online savings account with no fees ever, and a high interest rate even if your balance is only $5. No fees for withdrawals, no fees ever. I feel I must repeat this point. No fees!

Its pretty cool.

Anyway they are having a Christmas promotion where I can invite my friends to get a savings account too. If you sign up they give you some cash.

Yes. They give you some free money.

You will get anything between $25 and $500 as a special Christmas gift.

Plus everyone who signs up also goes in the draw for 4 chances to win $1000!

So I'll email everyone when the promotion starts. You can thanks me later.

(disclaimer: er...uh... I may just happen to get $10 myself for every person that joins up.... but hey YOU get $25 and you could get up to $500! Its a sweet deal that helps your friend the scientician. And if you aint into it, feel free to delete that email as soon as it hits your inbox.)

Day 7

A whole week has gone by and I am actually already thinking about what I can buy in December. Mostly I really need a freakin' haircut. Its too long and a pain in the arse. Aside from that, no urges to spend.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Day 6 - its MY own challenge people

This "Buy nothing for a month challenge" is mine, I've set the rules. I decided to do it just to see if I could change my way of thinking and maybe some of my habits. There is no judge watching over me, no panel or peers deciding what I can still pay for and what I can't.

I had to explain this to a workmate today,

Him "So you're not buy petrol then"

Me "nope, I'm catching the bus"

Him "Ah! so you're buying bus tickets! and what about electricity huh??"

Me "Don't be a wanker"

Everyone else "ooooooooooooo"

Its not an all or nothing challenge, those are always (like diets) doomed to fail. I am challenging myself to purchase nothing. Electricity although not absolutely necessary for my survival does make for my comfort and I don't think I can be called a blatant consumerist for paying my electricity bill.

This challenge is more about what I do with my discretionary income. Each pay day I pay all my bills (I don't want no collection agency hounding my ass! That would be mental) and then don't spend whats leftover. I think a month is a good amount of time to try something out. I could have said to myself "Oh god, I am fed up with buying so much crap, I'm never ever buying anything again!" Its so unrealistic I would go out and buy something within three days because I know its impossible for me to never buy anything. So I think its way cooler and groovier to say "OH GOD, I am so fed up with buying so much crap, I'm going a month without buying anything" and presto, a goal! Which is achievable and just lengthy enough to feel worthwhile

So far I haven't bought anything. Just my groceries, once a week, so I don't starve.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Day 5 - Birth of the Mini manti!

All your mantis are belong to us

Well another day of catching the bus and spending no money.

Lucky for me I have a fairy grandmother who reads my blog and takes pity on my soul and decides to drop a few essentials. (essential = wine) So I wont be thoroughly deprived over the next few weeks. And now I know at least someone out there is reading my blog. Despite it lapsing into a day by day account of me doing nothing.

Tonight I am eating my first home grown lettuce, and its not as bitter as the last time I ripped a leaf off on my way past the planter. So there maybe hope for good eating yet. Speaking of good eating, heres what I'm having for dinner tonight. Its beans, of the cannelini kind, mixed with diced red onions, red peppers, celery, cracked pepper and lemon juice. Slapped on top is a tasty piece of unsustainable hoki. I best eat as much as I can before its on the endangered list. Anyway this is wrapped in tin foil and baked in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until tasty. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top and serve with a salad you just picked yourself from the garden.

And why not end this evenings post with an extreme close up of the little blighters. Just think in a few weeks they'll be big enough to fall in love, get married and bit each others heads off.

The one on the right looks like shes thinking about it already! run little man mantis RUN!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Day 4 - Is it just me or is time going slowly?

Hey I still haven't bought anything. Thrills huh.

Anyway I made pumpkin soup for lunch, pumpkin, kumura, cauliflower, onion, garlic and one potato. Very tasty. And I used some celery, carrot, garlic and noodles to make a chicken noodle soup for he boys as they are not big fans of pumpkin.

So its the end of the week and all the grocery shopping is used up. When you decide you are only going to visit the supermarket once a week you tend to plan pretty well. But its quite tedious all the planning ahead, every dinner lunch and breakfast.

The Golden Compass

I just watched the trailer this morning. Actually it looks quite good, and very well cast. Besides any movie that some religos get all uppity about is bound to be good.

You can also get your own Daemon. You just have to take a short personality test (20 questions) and they match you up with your most likely daemon. A neat feature is that you can put it on your blog and your friends can answer some questions about you to make sure you didn't cheat on the personality test. You daemon will change if their answer are not similar to your own.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Buses or Bikes People.

Day 3 - Still Not Spending Anything

This could become a very boring blog. Yep, day three and I've already forgotten what my wallet looks like.

I was feeling good about spending nothing and then Natalie points out that I must somehow get her a birthday present. Never fear! I am the luckiest person I know. I will sort something out. I must admit these are challenges I didn't even consider when I began this month of frugality.
In other news I have successfully grown lettuce. Some fancy kind. Tastes terrible mmmmm bitter. But it grew didn't it?!!!!!!!! Yeah bask in my awesome gardening skills.

"My lettuce, let me show you it."

Other fun things to do on the weekends include organising your book collection by colour! Although its kinda flip I think it looks much better than the general mishmash that it was before.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Day 2 - Friday is PUB DAY

Most Fridays we start early at work so we can finish by lunch time and head down to the pub for lunch and a couple of beers. And today is no exception. I imagine theres not much fun to be had spending no money at the pub, except of course for the delightful company of my co-workers.

I also had to drive to work today, the buses don't really start running early enough, and I'm not about to walk to work at 5am in the morning. So Fridays have to be my concession. At least its a day off from busing it with the kids. Oh The pain of finishing work at 3:30.

And a big thank you to my dear Nina, who continues to surprise me. Today I came home to a mystery package and to my delight it contained a lost book of my childhood. I must have told that trauma story one too many times. So with my weekend reading sorted, family fed, the very last smidgen of Sav blanc drunk I think I will sit down for a gaming session. I'm only one level away from getting giant ram for my dwarf to ride around on y'know.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Whedon Geeks ahoy! Good news!

Joss Whedon has a new TV series in the works, its called Dollhouse and stars Eliza Dushku.
Read more here, including interviews with Eliza and Joss.

Day One - It all seems so easy

Just by chance, the first day of this little experiment happens to be my pay day. Its usually a day when I treat my self to a bought lunch and a bottle of wine on the way home, but no such luxury today.

So I hopped online and paid all my bills this morning. Mortgage, rates, power, phone, insurance, life insurance etc. I have $100 left. So I cant say I was really living the extravagant life before. Thats $100 disposable income which would get spent on alcohol, going out, petrol and other rubbish. So I wacked it all in my savings account (except for enough to buy a bus ticket for the fortnight) and sighed as my current account balance now reads zero.

I caught the bus to work, which was quite pleasant (Took my mp3 player for a bit of soundtrack to life music). I had to get up a little earlier, but thats no trouble. I even got off two stops early to save on bus fare (1 stage fare is only $1.60 two stages is probably twice as much, I wouldn't know). And the walk to work was relaxing and it put me in a good mood for work.

So far so good.

My work has blocked acess to flickr. Everyday more and more websites are added to the block list. I fear it wont be long before blogger is banned.