Saturday, January 31, 2009


I was out last night with the lovely Polly and Sal, drinking a few cocktails, discussing how much better life is at 27 than it was at, say 22.

Pol said (and I agree entirely) that 21-25 was about working out who you are and 25-27 has been about learning to love that and stop hiding it. It's true. We no longer try to adapt or hide truths to fit in with those around us. We are who we are, but the great thing is, so are the people we meet, which makes everything so much more honest and enjoyable.

Later on in the evening Sal added another great take-away for the night.... Talking about a man who had really annoyed her she said "I told him I'd tear him a new arsehole". My reaction was exactly what you would imagine. I tittered. But aparently its a genuine aussie-ism. You can even shorten it to "I'll tear you a new one". Must use that this week....

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The generation game

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released a load of reports today, including one called From Generation To Generation.

I haven't yet waded through the whole thing, although the SMH is just one of the papers that has provided an overview this morning. They have focused on the labelling of the generational group that follows GenY as the iGeneration. I will be reading it all later... however...

I couldn't help but rant already, because the report has decided to lump Generations X and Y together. Now, I have always felt on the cusp between these two. Datewise I am often called Y (b.1981) but my characteristics are pretty Generation X (which I always believe is because I have older sisters and was raised on good ol' fashioned values - none of the fluffy Baby Boomer parenting which always sounded rather soft). But to conduct a major overview of the population of Australia, and then draw conclusions from it, while grouping together everyone from 20-39 years of age? Flawed.

It is particularly intruiging to do so for a country whose population comprises such a high percentage of immigrants and where the rules make it easier for those under 30 to enter.

ABS data.... FAIL.

Crowd pullers

Spoiler-free post!

I went to see Slumdog Millionaire last night with Kenny and absolutely loved it. It was rather gruesome in places and very sad to see how people still live in India today (the people who we are all to quick to snap at when they take our customer care calls), but the film was brilliant.

Based on the novel Q&A which I have always wanted to read but never got around to, the film is a life story told by a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contestent who is accused of cheating. He must be cheating because he is a slum kid and chaiwaller who couldn't possibly know all those answers... except he does. It's also a love story and I realised how much of a romantic I am when about 10 minutes from the end, with all story lines wrapped up I felt like the film was in no way finished yet because the romantic element was still waiting closure. Yes... I did cry. I always cry.

Anyway, that little review there wasn't supposed to be the point of this post. At the bus stop afterwards I ran a little theory of mine past Kenny...

There are certain actors who I love and will always try to go and see their films. Oddly though my list is mainly female. I wondered whether Kenny had a similar list and whether his would be mainly male... opening up the possibility for a pattern. I could very well have stumbled on a strange idea; do women actually go to the cinema to see women in films, rather than the hot men (and vice versa?)

Kenny reckoned there wasn't anyone who he particularly liked, but when pressed could only name male actors. My list on the otherhand is (in order):

There are lots of others I love - in particular older British actors, both male and female. I wonder whether part of the reason for it is because I love a romantic film, but looking at this list the really odd thing is, there are many many films that these people have made that I hated. Kate Winslet picks some rotten screenplays, but somehow I still love her and what she does with them.

What about you? When you think of your favourite film actors are they predominently the same sex as you, or different?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Great Big To Do List

I have started working a four day week (again) and on my Wednesday off last week I took myself off to join the library. I had two motivations:

1) I seem to be chewing through books at the rate of knots at the moment and they cost the same as a small house out here

2) Libraries are always cold, which in 35 degree heat is welcome

So off I trotted. While there I found a few Australia guide books and took the opportunity to write a list of things I want to make sure I do while over here. The original list would have been much longer but I am already doing well at working my way through it and having a ball.

Sharing this we will be able to tick things off together as I do them... I should add this is certainly not exhaustive!

Susannah Place Museum
Snorkelling in Clovelly
See a performance at the Opera House
Take a surf lesson
Go to an Aussie Rules match

Watch the sunrise over Byron Bay - the most easterly point in Australia
Hunter Valley
Whitewater rafting (Coff's Harbour? Not sure about the big banana though...)
Melbourne again - Phillip Island
Travel the Great Ocean Road
Fraser Island
Barrier Reef
Uluru (sunrise AND sunset)
Kings Canyon

Music rights

Interesting to see that Warner Music's fall out with Google has lead to the ever popular Gorilla/Genesis Cadbury Dairy Milk advert to be taken down from YouTube.

Warner Music was one of the first music houses to do a deal with YouTube, back in 2006. Google is YouTube's parent company.

Interesting because that advert was a viral success on the internet and now a dispute between two unrelated companies leaves Cadbury unable to reap any more benefits from its content. It will have acquired the rights to the advert for TV use, but I am guessing the contract must not extend to unlimited internet play back.

It should serve as a warning to marketing folk and lawyers everywhere to check and negotiate on DRM for any third party content when adding it to your own.

Instead, to attempt to fill the void here is Cadbury's new offering. Not as good (you can't replace a little Genesis with this noise), but rather amusing none-the-less!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Plain wrong

I am staggered by the Frank Devine editorial piece on the front of The Australian’s Features supplement today. His headline “History will smile on Bush, even if he didn’t suit The Times” led me to expect a reasonable hypothesis of why the fundamental errors Bush made in his term of office will largely be forgotten as they become history. An inoffensive opinion, although one I do not agree with.

Instead what I got was a rather naive defence of why Bush was actually right in everything he did. Sorry, but I thought we had moved on from that? He starts by asserting that Bush was the right man for the job because otherwise it would have been Al Gore, “Imagine what would have happened if a president Gore had been in charge. First, the grand symbolism of signing Kyoto. Then the voice of the world's most powerful nation added to assertions that we were at the brink of the precipice and must take instant action to dismantle our economic, industrial and social systems, or go over. Then might have followed the surrender of authority by elected governments to the UN and the more ad hoc NGOs.”

Er, OK. At this point (paragraph three) I was in no doubt as to the man’s political allegiances, or his tendancy for the dramatic, but I had to read on because, frankly, I enjoy being incredulous now and again.

So the article goes on to assure us all that “Bush's twin attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq were courageous and logical”, riiiiight, and that everyone honestly believed Sadam had nuclear weapons. Yes indeed, that’s what all the paperwork turned up in Ol’ Blighty suggests… doesn’t it?

But I was absolutely reassured that no reader would believe this article unless he already shared Devine’s beliefs, when the article concluded on two erroneous facts. The second I will reveal first – because it is just nonsense. The first I will save for the end as entirely offensive and innacurate.

“The American commentator Charles Krauthammer sees an Iraq "turned from aggressive hostile power in the heart of the Middle East to an emerging democracy openly allied with the United States".”


“History takes more note of the outcome of military conflict than of the processes.” Right, that’s why we never hear about the holocaust right?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Unintentional viral

I loved this advert run by Veet (hair removal products) in the Australian Daily Telegraph.

Fantastic placement and humourous simplicity has lead to it being scanned in by an amused reader and circulated to friends. Friends forwarded it on to friends at a speed envied by viral marketers the world over.
It has reached the US, NZ, Europe - well, everywhere!
This kinda proves the point of some of the comments on my last post ... old school methods work for new media. Even with the extra effort required to scan this in, a funny enough concept for an advertisement gets people talking - down the pub, on email and on blogs.
I think this post is proof of that!

Walking the walk

Hello dear reader. I need to warn you that if you do not work in PR/marketing or the media then you may find this post of limited interest. Actually - if you DO work in those sectors you may still find it dull, so don't get your hopes up.

I am reading an average of four articles/blog posts a day which, to a greater or lesser degree, all discuss the conundrum of marketing in a new media world. Four articles, because I ignore about a million others.

What is beginning to infuritate me is that while many of these articles are well considered and seem to be bursting with sage advice, none of them actually *tell* you anything.

Here is the gist: We are in a new media world where bob and his blog can have as much impact on your business as Rupert at The Australian/Daily Mirror. Word-of-mouth is king. For businesses to succeed in this new landscape they need cleverly adapted marketing.

Got it. Yes.

The trouble is this is where the wise words stop. I read one blog post today from an industry leader down here in Oz where one of the handy tips was:

"3. Engage with communities
Word-of-mouth has never been more powerful, as a means of awareness and endorsement -- or as a means for bad news to spread. By engaging with communities of relevant stakeholders and customers, you'll be better placed to encourage the positive -- and address the negatives if the worst comes to the worst."

True indeed, good man.... but HOW?

I am beginning to think that the whole thing is like the Emperor's New Clothes. Everyone talks about it, but noone is actually doing it. Noone can give engaging examples - certainly not measurable ones.

Maybe I am reading the wrong articles, but is anyone walking the walk as well as they are talking the talk?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chocolate evaluation

Last night I met with two new friends, Emma and Nozomi, at the Guylian cafe in Circular Quay. I met Emma and Nozomi last year at my chocolate making class, so we thought it an appropriate venue.

We had a lovely time, eating and chatting, and our next outing is planned for a couple of weeks time... at the Lindt Cafe in Darling Harbour (can you see where this is going?)

Emma is British and Nozomi Japanese, so I need to bring the last of my British Dairy Milk (along with some waxy Australian Dairy Milk) because Emma is convinced Nozomi will be able to pick the better chocolate blind folded and wants to prove it.

After the Lindt cafe we are planning Max Brennar (chocolate cafe...), then a few specialist boutiques. So shortly, dear reader, I will be able to give you a conclusive group review of all the chocolate cafes in Sydney.

How did Guylian do? Well, it was yummy, of course - but prior experience teaches me that the Lindt cafe does better waffles (I will check it for you before saying that for certain though... I am good like that). I love Guylian chocolates, but the praline was quite heavy in the smoothy.

Final fact for today's post... did you know Guylian is named after the couple who founded it - Guy and Liliane.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Speilberg watch out!

One of my team showed me how to use Windows Movie Maker, so for your viewing pleasure, herewith is a creative masterpiece showing my first six fabulous months Down Under! It is about 6 minutes long.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Surfers' Ear

You have heard of Tennis Elbow, but have you heard of Surfers' Ear?

I went out last night for tapas and sangria with the lovely Dubai Katy and some of her friends before she heads back to the ME. I was chatting to a nice guy called (I think) Frank/Frankie (hey the Sangria was good!) when he mentioned that he suffered from Surfers' Ear. He is a nurse, so I believed him implicitly, but I had to Google it today to see what the internet had to say about the whole thing.

And it seems it is bona fide! Wikipedia says so.

So just what is this oh so Aussie malady? Well when your life subjects you to hours of surfing, swimming and general larking about on the beach, your ear bone grows to keep the water out of your ear canal. It seems genuinely Darwinian because, you see, you can hear just as well underwater with this extra bone growth, but it reduces your hearing in the less watery world of, say, your office or the pub.

Sufferers (or surfers!) have to have the ear canal re-drilled so they can hear, but it tends to affect one ear more than the other because (get this!) of prevailing winds. Love it.

They can avoid it by surfing in ear plugs but then of course they won't hear the shouts of SHARK SHARK and if it comes to a toss up between being chewed by an ugly sea beast and missing your mate when he admits it is his round... I know which I would go for.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


The tricky thing about living alone is that when you look at your almost empty large tub of jam, you know you ate it all. Its a lot of jam for one person to have eaten, no matter how long the timescale.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Four word film review

I don't know whether its an Australian thing or whether it has been introduced in other countries, but when films get given certificates out here they have a short sentence accompanying the U, PG, 18 or whatever.

I have just seen a trailer for a film that has the BEST accompanying sentence ...

"Very mild slapstick violence"

How very cool is that?

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