Thursday, July 31, 2008

I want one of those...

You have to love the Japanese. A new technology comes out and you can always rely on the Japanese to find a use for it, and most importantly, commit to using it themselves.

Check out this application for QR codes...

QR codes (quick response) are bar codes which (although initially designed for something else) work really nicely on the mobile. You take a picture of them on your mobile, message the picture to a number and it produces a specific result. That result could be a return message with a retail voucher, or you could be entering a competition... whatever. The Aussies seem to be getting quite into them, and you find them on billboard ads, making the marketing immediately actionable by the consumer (in the same way you can click through online ads). Its all very measurable that way, you see. You can also download QR readers for your phone so that you take a picture and are immediately directed to a website on your mobile.

Anyway... in Japan you can now get QR codes on clothes patches (what we used to call sew-on badges in my family). You can programme your QR patch to direct people to any website you like. It could be your blog, or it could be your company, Flickr photostream, Twitter profile... or whatever.

I just love the idea, and kinda want one but don't think it would go with my outfit...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Le weekend in photos

I have been taking it easy this weekend, enjoying the fact that I am still alive (and a few inches slimmer!) after last weeks dramatic approach to food intake/out-take. But here are a couple of pics to share.

1) A lasagne I made on saturday night in one of my new mini lasagne dishes. While shopping for this dish I realised there is a gap in the market for a single serving lasagne dish which is handily shaped and sized to match lasagne pasta sheets. Ho hum. Anyway this little beaut (picking up the lingo out here) tasted delish, although not discernably different from the saucepan-lasagne I creatively concocted two weeks ago when missing a lasagne dish at the crucial moment.

2) Sunday (today) I went shopping in Bondi Junction (shoppers paradise). My list contained exciting homey items such as pillows, bedding, tea towels and the like. These purchases are part of the anti-homesickness plan because since being off work ill, homesickness has been circling in the back of my mind. I have a two stage plan (or a "two pronged strategy" for my PR pals) which involves making my new home homier and keeping busy. Hence the tea-towels, and the shopping (oh, and the flap jacks I just made my colleagues....). Anyway, on my way home the sky turned black, hiding the sun away, and as I walked into the apartment the heavens opened with a flash and a burp. Sydney does thunderstorms rather well I think and this snap shows the view out of our french windows across the harbour - check out the double rainbow! It looked even brighter in real life. Ooooh just saw fork lightening too!

I am writing this mini post in the dark while my housemate naps on the sofa in front of the AFL game (Melbourne vs someone). If you hadn't already noticed that the rules could only have been invented by a nation which defies gravity by essentially living upside down, the following quote from the commentator would have given it away. In what other nation would he get away with saying this and keeping a straight face!?

"They are a bit like Paris Hilton at the moment. They seem to be able to play with anyone..."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A long way from home

This is a strange tale, bear with me...

Last night I started to read next month's Letchworth Book Club book, Treasure Island. It was picked after I flew around the world to take up residence in Sydney so a couple of weeks back I traipsed my ex-pat bottom across the Harbour Bridge, through the city and up Oxford Street to a second-hand bookshop in search of a copy that wouldn't break the bank. Books here, you see, are very expensive - but that is a point for another day. So I found myself in a lovely bookshop, up three floors and peering at the children's second-hand section. Two copies of Treasure Island - both hardback, both with lovely plates illustrating throughout. I chose the cheapest (of course), and took my book home.

Fast forward to last night and I was tucked up in bed, feet like blocks of ice, when I decided to flip to the front of the book to see... well... I don't know what. But I stuck my finger in the book to not lose my place and flipped to the front page.

And my book was printed in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, England.

It somehow found its way all the way around the world, only to end up in the hands of a Letchworthian!! Letchworth isn't a big town - about 40,000 - and nothing of note ever originated in the town (excepting yours truly, of course). Sydney on the other hand is a city of 4 million, with possibly just me coming from Letchworth. But this little children's story found me. And that made me smile and forget my cold feet for a while.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A weekend of highs and lows

This weekend was my birthday. Well, more specifically, Sunday was my birthday, and I had a brilliant weekend of fun planned.

It started with a girlie night at Retro (dancing to 90s dance music, wearing a glo-band) until about 11pm when old friend KK flew into town from Perth. I haven't seen KK since her wedding 18 months ago and it was great to catch up again.

On saturday morning KK headed to her friends for lunch while I took off up to Bankstown for my helicopter flying lesson. Regular readers will remember that this was my leaving presie from Hotwire, and it may turn out to be more expensive than planned because I LOVED IT! I want to do it more! Here are a couple of piccies from the day:

Saturday evening I met KK at Circular Quay for some bubbles and then we headed up to china town for dinner. Here, dear reader, is where I suspect it went wrong.

Sunday morning (the big day!) I woke up with some highly unsociable symptoms of food poisoning. I eventually make it into a cab to go to my birthday lunch, but only stay for an hour or so and in that time manage to clock up at least six vomits in the loo and two in flower beds (en route there and back). Everyone was very kind when I ran off so quickly, despite many of them having a battle to get there through the papal pilgrims on the climax day of World Youth Day (week).

I have just made it back from the doctor (very impressed with him, never realised that NHS appointments were so brief!) and have been signed off work for a week. I have to say though, the words "take it easy, you are likely to have these feelings of nausia for a few weeks even after the vomiting stops" sent a shiver down my spine.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday fun

Hola folks. One of the benefits of being 9 hours ahead is that the 4pm Friday funnies circulated at week can, with a single upload/forward from me, become Friday lunchtime fodder in the UK.

Love this one!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wise words

I was raised with lots of phrases and sayings, as are most English people - a bizarre proverb for every situation. But two of the phrases stuck with me more than all the others.

From my Grandad Wearmouth:

The moving finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.

- The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

From my dad:

If a job's worth doing, its worth doing properly

My dad's is the one I consciously think about daily, but my grandad's usually makes me cry. That's because the first time I heard it it was through my dad. I was about 11 years old and had said something mean to my dad. That piece of poetry was his response as he walked away, visibly hurt. I think its a beautiful passage.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Melbourne musings

I want to start this post with a clear disclaimer.

I have been in Melbourne just 24 hours and the next day and a half until I fly home to Sydney I am in meetings, so I have seen very little of Melbourne. Perhaps more importantly I don't know anyone in this town so was missing those little tips that locals can give you (of which I have had many in Sydney). I also kept to the centre of town today and know very well that that is rarely the best bit of any city.

However, that said, I wanted to record my thoughts on the city, because after 7 hours pacing the centre of town I do have some.

Those thoughts can be generally catagorised under the heading; Confused.
Everyone I have spoken to loves Melbourne. Many prefer it to Sydney. At the moment I do not. Here are some bullet point thoughts:
- Its colder here than Sydney
- I can't work out the personality of the place - its a bit like Earls Court meets the Centre Pompidou
- Bill Bryson is right, for some unknown reason cars turning right hang out on the far left of the road until after the lights have changed then cut across all the lanes to reach their destination. Just odd
- There aren't many cafes. I was told Melbourne was all about the cafe, but (at least in the centre of town) it ain't
- You do know you're in Australia because, like Sydney, skateboarders zoom across any surface less than 3 feet high
- Its big plus over Sydney is the length of time the green man shows... in Sydney you have about 4 seconds of green man before he turns red and starts flashing rudely
- Because the bulk of the city is built around the river it all just feels a bit like London

And I think that last bullet point sums it up for me. I don't dislike like Melbourne. I have had a good day and certainly plan to come back to see more (I know it's there, its just hiding). But after today I can't find a *use* for Melbourne. If you already have London, and Sydney, and Paris... whats it FOR?

I hope any Victorians reading don't take too much offence. I am really want to like Melbourne, but think I just need some help with this one.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Three true facts

1) Australians all seem to wear shades of black and grey to work. Colour doesn't seem to be classed as work attire.

2) Australians say "ah, look" a lot.

3) Sydney buses have a sticker on the drivers window that says "Do not access bus through window".

I love that last one.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The painting!!

I can't remember whether I might have already told you, or whether I only mentioned it on my Twitter feeds (on the left of the page... over there....) but I bought a painting at a gallery opening a couple of weeks ago.

I haven't been able to stare at it lovingly each morning since though, as it has been entertaining the masses at the gallery every since. But yesterday the exhibition ended and now I can go to Chippendale and claim my fabulous piece. I am incredibly excited, but also exhausted today and am now summoning the energy to jump in a cab and collect it. To build up the energy in the form of raw excitement I did a bit of a Google search for the artist, Angus Wood, and found a photo of my piece on the gallery website! Its called Duck Cover and in real life its a more vivid green and the brush work is beautiful, but here is a small piccie of it so you can all appreciate my enthusiasm, develop a love for Angus' work and therefore drive up the value of my painting. Not that I would sell it to you, coz I love it :-p

Thursday, July 03, 2008

You say tomato...

Day three at work today and I have discovered two potentially deal breaking incompatabilities with my colleagues...

First off, I was in a brainstorm for one of the agencies big clients when I suggested an idea involving wireless routers (trust me, it was a corker). I get to the climax of the idea; "and of course it can't be done without a router" (or something).... and I am met with uproarous laughter. I look at them confused and they all chime in with a very plummy accent repeating back to me "rooooter". Used to the odd tease about my accent I ask them how Australians would say it; "rowter", like Americans. I am really not sure I can comply. But it gets worse - apparently when you say it my way it means something quite different out here, and that something is not appropriate for polite company. I guess rowter it is! Urgh.

A couple of hours later and I was starting to se the funny side of the tomayto/tomato scenario. Then a colleague came up to me and asked me to pick the treat for this week's Lunch and Learn training session which I am runing tomorrow. "How about flapjacks?" I ask. Flummoxed faces all round. "Like, pancakes?" they ask. So I attempt to describe the inner workings of the oaty delight of flapjacks (describing how some weirdos add raisins but that the best are either chocolate chip or dipped in chocolates). Seems they don't have flapjacks in Australia. Hmmm. Now I have talked about it I want one! I might have to get cooking and introduce my colleagues to flapjacks....

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Birthday chopper

Its a great day today for two reasons:

1) I started work and think I am going to be really happy
2) I got confirmation of my Sydney Harbour helicopter flying lesson booking ... 19th July!! My birthday weekend!!

Which nicely outweighs 2:1 the bad thing that happened:

1) I managed to show my bottom to the world when a big gust of wind caught my skirt....

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