Attention Grammar Police!

If you should find offenses to the English language in any of my articles please leave a comment and let me know so that I can obliterate it forever! Thanks!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

New "Like" Buttons

I confess, I'm a bit of a "stats" freak and I like to know I'm getting hits... You will notice all of my blogs now have a "Like" button beneath them, so please feel free to "Like" anything you like!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Quote for the Day

True love is not demonstrated by agreeing with someone; it is shown by disagreeing with some one but loving them anyway!

-me-

Pimp My Twenty Bucks Part Eight


Success needs no introduction, no matter how small it is. Some people’s successfulness shines like the eyeball splitting brilliance of Sol, the fancy not often used name of the Sun. Other people are more lunar in their triumphs, glowing in the night while we marvel at their hoity beams.

I however, am more like the red dot of a laser pointer, darting about your living room floor tempting the cat to madness as it chases what it cannot catch.

Allow me to point that dot at this week’s microscopic victory…

This week I successfully fobbed off two books:

2001 A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke for $4.50
and
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte for $3

Thus making me the grandiose amount of $7.50, enough to buy a bottle of milk and a cheap packet of cookies in my country.

Keeping with my plan to replace every item I sell times two, I have purchased four “new” second hand books to relist at the cost of $3 this week.

I found myself in a Salvation Army shop in the small town of Huntley, New Zealand. A town that makes you feel like you have forgotten where you parked your DeLorean! Just passing through I decided to inject my supply of books with some fresh items because my usual supplier is running a bit dry with me plucking up all the good reads from week to week. The only problem was the books there were $1 each which means when I list them I will have to increase my own prices a tiny bit to compensate for the ouch factor that buying them gave me.

So, as usual, I have relisted all of last week’s unsold items plus four, taking me up to 35 book listings for this week. I can see I am going to need a small warehouse to keep these books eventually!

So where does that leave me?

Let us not have just an ordinary drum roll please, how about an ensemble of drum rolls! A whole orchestra of rum-tum-ta-ta-tums and various percussion instruments crackling their Kudos thrown in for good measure – because I can now boast, without any exaggeration, that I have earned a total of $44.76 cents.

So what if it has taken me nearly ten weeks? After all Felix, my cat, is enjoying his period of grace as his inevitable visit to the vet rolls slowly closer like a 20 ton block of granite strapped to the backs of leprous penguins in the desert.

But...

This is the part where I usually say something like “Until Next Week”, but not this time because now I have something new to share. That’s right. New.

So far I have been trying to pimp up my $20 by using the online trading services offered by Trademe, New Zealand’s equivalent to eBay, but I have realized that there are other ways to make money online besides selling stuff. I’m talking about Google adsense revenue.

More specifically I am talking about adsense on YouTube. Starting next week I am going to begin vlogging this series, incorporating Google advertising to see if that increases my cash flow, and I will include my weekly earnings in these blogs. Just to make things a bit more interesting.

I will make sure Felix makes an appearance to, so you can appreciate how fat and sinister my cat is.

Finally if you are enjoying watching me painfully make money in the exceedingly slow lane, and ultimately want to see me succeed please do me the small credit of shearing my posts on the various social networks you inhabit and become part of my glacial success.

Click here to Read Part Nine in this series

To read this series from the beginning click here!

Click here to check out my listings!

Click Here to follow my progress on Facebook!

Click Here to hear me sing a totally random song that has nothing to do with this series!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How I Memorize: Bonus Video

How I Memorize: Closing Statements

How I Memorize Part 7: Fusing all the Techniques

How I Memorize Part 6: The Typing Technique


Monday, July 23, 2012

If I Was Jean Luc Picard

 
Found this in My Documents recently, the aftermath of
an experiment with Photoshop :)

Defining Moment of the Day

For a Dad, nothing beats the first time your 19 month old daughter looks at you in the eyes and proudly exclaims the word, "Fart!" for the very first time.

I'm such a bad influence.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

We Have Forgotten Who We Were

I fear that we have let the Dark Knight Rise while we have buried Jesus, and as a result the Dark Night has risen..

This is my Christian perspective of the terrible events that have left Colorado, America and frankly most of us grief stricken by it's brutality.

I have wrestled over whether I should publish this, it's likely to cost me readers but I don't care about that. What I do care about is whether people will see this as me taking advantage of a horrible situation for the sake of the things I have to say or will understand that my heart was moved enough that I sat down at this computer and bore my tormented soul to anyone who would listen.

Nevertheless, despite the confusion I feel over my own motives I think what I want to share is important. For me it truly is necessary for us to stop and examine our hearts, our consciences and our decisions from here on in. Do we focus all our hatred on this pathetic individual who has horrified the World and his victims or do we begin a desperate and honest search for the reason why the West is losing it's grip on human dignity, because maybe in this current relativistic mind set there is really no such thing?



The gun debate in America is aflame, and for good reason. Last night’s tragedy in Colorado has haunted me. On every scale it is a disgusting act of hatred and cruelty that one would cry out for a real life Batman to save the day. But he won’t because in real life Justice amongst mere men is far from swift. And so the debate goes on.

I’m saddened by the event for another reason. I am a Projectionist and play movies for a living. To think that someone chose a sister of my workplace to indulge in senseless annihilation is reprehensible to say the absolute least. While I cannot dare to suppose what it would be like to be in that horrific moment, I can grieve for the Cinema Staff and the Projectionist who shouldered the burden of turning up the house lights and stopping the films to give the frightened patrons a chance to get out. At least that’s what I imagine. Whoever the Projectionist was, whoever the staff were my thoughts, sympathy and prayers go out to you for having to deal with a situation that not even a movie could have prepared you for. It goes without saying that I also feel strongly for the victims and their families and pray you will find some peace and comfort. I also pray for Justice. Forgiving a man for such a crime as this might be possible, but should justice be tarried on his account, that is unforgivable.

But this article is not about me; it’s not even really about the gun debate. It’s about America’s soul, and how that soul can be viewed through its nation’s eyes and what those eyes see. The President said in his speech today, “…we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another…” and that is what most of us in the West choose to see. We have all, not just Americans, lost what we once were, and that was morally decent people who lived in societies where this sort of thing simply did not happen. But none of my generation would remember that, because we are the generation that believes in relativism, that the notion of right and wrong is a matter of opinion and we Christians and Jews are lunatics for thinking otherwise, despite the fact that our Grandparent’s parents embraced the Old Religion and were mostly free of these sorts of Horrors!

When the Great Constitution was written the American Government of the day could rely on the fact that most of its citizens lived by the same moral code, that most of its citizens understood that divine retribution awaited the evil doer when he died and that his punishment would be eternal. People thought twice before they acted because they understood from the Bible the law of consequences, that you reaped what you sowed. A Constitution that gave men the right to bear arms was possible because the Government could trust its people to behave themselves. This simply is not true anymore. America has embraced cultural relativism and his demonstrated again and again it’s distain for its religious heritage, despite the fact that America’s freedom and prosperity would not have been possible were it not for its Christian roots. The country that has forgotten the glory of its Godly beginnings is self destructing and people can only sigh and echo the President by saying, “We will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another.”

Jesus taught that Evil comes from the Heart of Man. He said, “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” The evil we are dealing with here is inside each of us. You take away belief in consequences, you take away divine Judgment, you take away God’s absolute moral law and that evil is what we are left to deal with. But we are so prone to blaming anything else but ourselves. We blame the guns, we blame the political system we live in, and we blame the schools, the environment. We will even blame one minority group over another. We blame anything but ourselves. When the problem with our society is not Capitalism, it is not the right to bear arms, it is not lack of education, it is not any of the above – it is simply the wickedness that overflows from the fallen Human Heart. Yet everyone chooses to ignore it. But here’s some Christian logic for you; you ignore evil long enough, it has a way of rearing its ugly head and shocking all of us. The new Humanistic morality and secular thinking has no definitive answer for it other than surprise.

I said before that when the American Government drafted the Constitution it did so knowing that it could trust its people to do the right thing. But now we find ourselves in a Western moral vacuum where there is no God, no eternal consequences for sin, in fact there is no sin, anything goes, there is no right, there is no wrong and each man and woman does purely as they see fit or whatever feels good…

When the majority of societies’ citizens govern themselves with this kind of “anything goes” morality, a government can no longer trust its citizens with guns. Because when “anything goes” it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.

Please do not think I am being anti-American. I mourn for America, I really do, but its problems are the same as all of the West’s. People are silently losing their freedom because we deserve to lose it if we do not choose to govern ourselves with something as simple as the Ten Commandments, the complete example of Jesus Christ and the certainty of Divine Judgment.

The West truly has two options from here on in. Either we learn to govern ourselves wisely with the moral code of our ancestors, or we submit to dictatorship, because as these sorts of heinous crimes terrorize the “free” world, only an iron fist with a strong militant police force can “protect” its slaves… oh I mean citizens.

But that’s not what is going to happen. People will read this; they’ll think I’m a religious nut riding the wave of the popularity of a vicious crime that has made everyone ask “Why”.

I’ve told you why. Return to Jesus and we might have a chance.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pimp My Twenty Bucks Part Seven

I love how the last paragraph I wrote In Part Six left my readers with a promise of things to come and then I left you all in the lurch for almost two weeks, sorry about that!

It's been a busy time, still fighting the winter bug that has been trying to push me out of the game for most of the month so far. If I didn't know any better I'd say Felix is poisoning me to keep me down...

If you read the last installment you'll remember I mentioned a customer who failed to pay me? Well, after four pleasant emails from my end I gave him the chop, relisted Charlotte's Web and made sure I left some nasty feedback. Not too nasty though, just in case something bad had actually happened to the guy and I was being a prat about it. One day some clever person will invent a social network site or online trading site that tells other users if a person has died so you can send your condolences rather than a complaint!

Anyway, the good news is trademe have a function which allows you to request success fees back for transactions that didn't quite go all the way. So I got my $0.50 back! Victory is sweet.

I relisted all my books but kind of failed to relist much else that was new, so for the past week I've only had 32 books helping me to achieve my goal of pumping up my $20 into a muscle clad $100... You could say I dropped the ball a bit, but for good reason; in the last week I've been fighting partial deafness, had a stag night for a friend, a birthday I failed to attend, a funeral a wedding and work to go to. It's been a week of busy things.

So to bring you up to speed, and for once not referring to the various titles I successfully sold, since I last wrote I've made $24 to add to The Dog Ears account... Putting me at $43 in the bank plus leaving me with $5.36 in trademe.

I will subtract $5 from that $43 to reach the books I sold and also to add five more to take me up to 40 books in stock. That's 37 chances to make another sale this week. Choice.

So, just over $43 to show for nearly nine weeks of online trading and cunning. Thought I'd throw in that "cunning" bit. Had I called this series "Double Your 20" I'd be able to finish now!

Never mind though, only $60 to go!

Oops...

This is me the next day rectifying the above statement about this weeks listings! I purchased three books for $5 instead of the ten I had intended... Why? Because they were good books that I was sure would attract some attention even if they cost me slightly more than I normally would have spent, I decided they were worth the risk... In six days we'll know if I was right!

So this week I have 33 listings, and as I write this I already have at least one bid! Yay for me.

Till next week then!

Click Here to read Part Eight in this series

Click Here to read this series from the beginning

Click Here to follow my progress on Facebook!

Click Here to hear me sing a completely random song that has nothing to do with this series!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Defining Moment of the Day

My three year old wakes us up around 6 a.m. This morning, crying from a nightmare, it sounds like a rather bad one.

Finally she comes into our room sniffling. Mum asks gently, "What's the matter sweetheart?"

In utter despair she exclaims, "Daddy didn't give me any chocolate!"

"You were having a bad dream sweetie, climb into bed and have a cuddle..."

She climbs into our bed and settles down for about ten minutes, then whispers forlornly, "Mummy, can you ask Daddy to give me some chocolate?"

!

Friday, July 13, 2012

50/50 - A Review

Don't let the words, "from the makers of Superbad" put you off seeing this film. That was the line I used to convince my wife to watch this one with me.

Mind you, if you're already feeling depressed and need an injection of good feelings and mindlessness, then don't see this film.

This is a cancer movie. Enough said.

Adam Lerner, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is a 27 year old writer who learns from his insensitive doctor that he has schwannoma neurofibrosarcoma - or in layman's terms a rare form of spinal cancer.

He seems to take it rather well, or maybe calmly better explains his attitude. But perhaps the real disease that this movie explores is not so much the cancer as it is the reactions of those closest to him...

His girlfriend Rachael vows to take care of him but does the complete opposite, refusing to enter the hospital when he gets his chemo, not rushing to his aide when the chemo takes it's toll in late night vomit attacks and throwing herself into the arms of a revolting dude who dresses like a biblical sheep herder. She would rather be with a freak whose healthy than an otherwise normal guy who is sick claiming when confronted by Adam that, "you don't know how hard this has been for me!" the fact her role is portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard makes it all the more believable, she is so good at playing self entitled Jezebel types.

On the other hand we have Kyle, Seth Rogen, the best friend who appears to react in his own selfish way by using Adam's illness to glean sympathetic "attention" from women.

Let's not mention Adam's mum, she worries too much, so he shuts her out.

I was almost put off this movie when suddenly a Twilight star appeared as his counsellor. She seems a teenager and they even have to write in a Doogie Houser joke to compensate for her appearance. I'm so disinterested by Twilight that I won't even bother looking up her name, nevertheless she was a pleasant contrast to the seemingly selfish loved ones in his life, she becomes the sweet and harmless stranger, the good samaritan who leads him to his final expression, and possibly love... But I won't spoil that plot point for you...

And yes, I did shed a few tears while engrossed in this toast to terminalness. Just when you think that Joseph's straight faced acting can't get any more non-reactive he explodes, the night before his big operation, into an emotional tumult of frustration and disappointment. Thats when I cried.

Amidst the despair there are some great one liners in this film that break the morose monotone so it's not completely devoid of comedy, but as I said above, save this movie for when a little spoonful if depression won't hurt you.

6 out of 10 in my book. Cancer makes a great movie but never a good review.

Click Here for more film reviews by me!


Monday, July 9, 2012

10th July on Planet Fatherhood

I'm doing something I've never done before, I'm blogging on the bus. I have 37 minutes precisely to tell the tale if my sick week.

Sucky and sickly has been my health with self diagnosed bronchitis and an acute ear infection that saw me to the Doctor after only being able to take one day off from work because of the specialized nature of my mediocre job. In other words no one could cover me.

But that's ok, the toughest job I have, albeit the most rewarding, is being a parent, which no man can call in sick from. There are no sickies for desperate dad's with man-flu.

Actually that's what grandparents are for, "mum, I need you to watch the kids, I'm sick"... But that was me day dreaming again about a time long ago when grandparents had nothing better to do all day than knit and make syrupy cups of tea for under age drinkers (as my Nanna used to). Not to mention all my children's grans, nans, pas and pops all live out of town. So I was clearly on my own this week.

Even when my Mum did come to town to visit the latest if my nephews newly born, I still couldn't talk her into baby sitting, but at least I got to partake in a longstanding tradition - using my mum's presence as a good excuse to hold a family gathering at my cousin's much bigger house, complete with toys and other children to distract my wonderful ones long enough to let poor sick dad relax and tell his own mummy all about how much his ears hurt.

So there we are at my cousins house, middle of the week and all the children doing their thing. It was bliss, and my girls loved every minute of it. I tend to pit my kids against my nephews and nieces whenever my mum is around. I like to play mind games with her in the following fashion, "Mum, if you were lost at sea and there was only room on the life boar for just one of your grand kids, who would you pick?" She gets all flustered and declares, "I love all my grandchildren the same! I'm not going to answer that, don't be so stupid!" I love my Mum. I can tell by her smile that she wants to say, "I'd save your kids first" but she's just being sensitive to the rest of my families ears. At least that's what I choose to believe.

We're all sitting around in my cousin's enormous living room with the rare winter sun shining in and filling the space. My Auntie Grubs has come for the visit which is crucial to what happens next. A wasp enters the room and all the women fly into a frenzy, "quick get it out!" and "don't let it touch me!"
Auntie grubs grabs the fly spray and starts chasing it down with the poisonous fluid, only my cousin says, "mum, what are you using, I don't have any fly spray!" turns out auntie grubs with her twilight eyesight has grabbed a can of cooking oil and has been generously spraying it all over the kitchen.

At another point my brother goes to make himself a coffee. I ask him to include me in his effort but he declines my request and I'm left coffee-less. I decide to get him back by changing my youngest's nappy behind the couch that he is sitting on and glean what pleasure I can from the potent reactions that spread across the room as the putrid contents of the devastating diaper can be felt in the nostrils of all present. "quick, open a door! Get that thing out of here!" don't let auntie grubs reach for the deodorizer because thats cooking oil too.

I love family gatherings. I don't even know what my little ones did apart from immerse themselves in the bliss of someone else's toys.

But at least for one day I forgot that I was sick because the family around me unconsciously carried the responsibility with me. I don't know how anyone does parenting completely alone, I really don't. It takes a mum and dad to make a baby. It takes a family to raise one. And it takes a bunch of relatives to give you a break.

And here's my bus stop... Great timing...

The Amazing Spiderman - A Review

I've learned over years of watching movies that there is a universal law involved in whether I will like a movie or not. That law is that if I expect nothing I will never be disappointed, or in the extreme case if I expect to be disappointed then I'll probably be impressed.

That was the case with the new Spiderman reboot. I liked Tobey Maguire's Spidey way too much to want to like this new Andrew Garfiled guy! or was it Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane who made the "old" trilogy for me? No probably not, I'm married and seldom notice the females in any movie.

But as much as I wanted to hate it I left the cinema loving it. Sure there were a few things that bugged me, like what happened to Mary Jane, Harry Osborn and Peter Parker the total geek? As much as Garfield played his part precisely well, he just wasn't geeky enough to create the stark contrast between Peter Parker the nerd and Spiderman the ultra cool Mime Artist in red... Sorry that's the Electric Company's Spiderman I'm confusing myself with there... But The reboot's Parker was kinda cool without the super powers, a bit of a weak loner but still cool in a post emo sort of way...

Perhaps some of my readers who are better versed in comic book lore can comment on which of the Spiderman franchises is true to the comics?

But all that aside, for a reboot, it wasn't half bad. Rhys Ifans' baddy was the kind you feel sorry for most of the time and that's my personal favorite sort of villain, it's kind if more realistic when the villain turns out to have been a nice guy who got a bit of power and then turned genocidal on everyone, like George Bush Jr, like most if us would be if we managed to splice our genes with a geko's.

As my dear old step dad used to ask me, "what was the moral of the story?" and surprisingly this money hungry rehash has a one. It is the story of a boy seeking revenge for the loss of his Uncle and ultimately his parents but learns that protecting others far outweighs his own quest for vengeance. For a while there you see a darker Spiderman, before his character is defined, searching for the man who killed his uncle when ultimately Peter must come to terms with the part he played in creating that crime by turning a blind eye when he should have been responsible.

I am left with one perplexing question after watching this film though. When Peter encountered the spider that bit him there were hundreds if not thousands of the things in the lab making super webs. If creating spiderman was that simple then why aren't there more spidermen?

If you see this movie, try to sit through the credits, I made the mistake of leaving early and so missed the mega lead in to the sequel! Unfortunately the extra footage didn't include Nick Fury doing some more recruiting. Alas I read somewhere that this Spiderman reboot will not be likely to cross over to Avengerdom because of copywrite restraints... Though you can google that if you're into that sort of legal stuff, as for me I'm going to put on this red and blue unitard and try to jump off this building with this webbing I've been collecting from my bedroom ceiling, if you never see another review from me it's because my life long dream to be a super hero has ended in a coma.

I'll give this film a 6 out of 10 because as much as I loved the last three flicks and the actors and characters I had come to love, I was still entertained enough and inspired enough to want to buy Spiderman Pajamas.

Pimp My Twenty Bucks Part Six

I was going to let my cat write this installment but he can’t type, and even if he could he can’t speak proper Queen’s English. So thankfully we’ve all dodged a bullet there. If all you were reading now were “meows” you would miss out on what a wonderful victory I’ve been experiencing with the evolution of my twenty dollars!

Well, I say victory but there has been one set back – a bad customer. You know, the kind who purchase an item online and then don’t pay you and ignore all of your emails pertaining to the fact. On one hand I want to get viciously annoyed but on the other the guy has some very good feedback from previous Trademe users he’s had dealings with, so he could be in a coma or something and that just makes me feel guilty, even if it isn’t true. It’s more than likely my cat, scared of how things are going here, has hunted down this customer and has him tied and gagged in some unsound location. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.

This installment is over a week late by the way, because I’ve had the flu, or something like it. The great thing about trading online though is unlike selling things face to face it doesn’t matter how sick or partially incapacitated I get, the listings are still out there doing their thing and all I have to do is lie there in my diseased state and hit refresh every once and a while.

But I’m ok now.

The point is I’m writing this week about what happened last week as a bit of a catch up.

My listings drew to an end on Monday last week, successfully earning me, supposedly, $12. That’s the biggest amount so far since I started this financial frolic!

Here’s how it went down.

I sold Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White for $6
Flight of the Night Hawks by Raymond E Feist for $3
And Albert Camus’ The Plague for $3

In theory that put me at $7.66 in the old Trademe account and $28 in the bank. Meaning of the original $20 I began with, I now should have $35.66 to show for it.

See, it IS working! And some of you thought that it wasn’t. Shame on you!

But I should be honest and point out here that the dodgy customer who has yet to pay for Charlotte’s Web has set me back $6 and keeping with the formula I have developed since the beginning of this task, I went out and purchased 3 new (well, old) books to replace the stock I sold plus an additional three books to boost my stock, which has reduced that $35.66 to $26.66.

In any case, as of last Tuesday I had 33 listings, having almost tripled the amount of stock I began with. Not bad I think.

Those listings will end over the next 24 hours so expect to hear from me soon with more riveting news!

Click Here to read Part Seven in this series

Click Here to read this series from the beginning

Click Here to follow my progress on Facebook!

Click Here to listen to a completely random song by me!