Thursday, 29 December 2005

Settlers IV

Started playing Settlers IV to try and get into some Network gaming at home (which isn't just a shoot em up... ) and I'm stuck already. I just don't think I'm designed for games. I get bored too easily. I'm stuck on Mayan II as I can't seem to build my settlment fast enough. I suppose a bit of patience would help!

Looking forward to going to Kenta with Nikki today. I feel like I haven't had Japanese food for ages so this should be good.

Sunday, 25 December 2005

Future Shop Photo Processing

I got a photo book printed by them and FutureShop's photo processing centre and was told it was pretty good. I had it sent to my mother and she is impressed, although I have no idea what it looks like. I assume it was good!

Easier for me to get it printed direct in Canada and mailed to her than have it done here.

Read more at www.myphotoprinter.net/...

Merry Christmas

Yep Christmas. Got a CD from Will that hopefully will inspire me to practice more on the sax... I gave him SimCity4 and SettlersIV.

Everyone yesterday was impressed by the Photobook we had done although I am in the middle of creating another one with all the photos from the holiday. I'll also have to put together one for Tassie.

I created a spreadsheet comparison for the different photobooks and definitely the VioVio works out best economically.

Comparison between VioVio, Shutterfly, MyPublisher and YorkPhotos can be found here.

Friday, 23 December 2005

Photo Book Arrived!

We got our VioVio photo book today. Looks great! Although I will be doing the whole thing again. I want now create a one volume book rather than have it spread over many. Also want to be able to easily control the number of photos per book. I've decided to use PhotoMix as it's very easy to use... although it crashed on me last night. I have yet to pay for it as I'll save all the "projects" to make sure it is the right tool. Someone else on the VioVio forum suggested using Powerpoint... but I think I'll stick to using a simple drag and drop tool where I don't have to follow special instructions.

Thursday, 22 December 2005

Spreadsheet to help calculate the Pension

Yep I have created a spreadsheet for calculating eligibility for the pension in Australia. This calculates based on income and assets and works out firstly if you are eligible for the pension based on the basic tests and then also based on the income using the deeming rules.

Deeming is calculated on savings and other "liquid" type assets including shares and managed funds. This is an amount that the government calculates you earn as income from these investments. It doesn't matter if you actually earn more from those assets than the deemed amount.

I have only created it for Home Owners both as a Single applicant and a Couple.

You can download it from the Geared website. Link is below

Read more at geared.net.au/products....

Garden Forum

This is a keeper! I never know what's happening with my plants. Herbs are dying, the strawberry plants died (I think from lack of sun?!) and my tomatoes are still growing but being nibbled on by some creatures (no tomatoes, just the leaves!)

The only luck we had were some buxus, which I stuck a fallen bit off in some soil and eventually it grew some roots! We weren't even trying to make that one grow... it just happened... thank goodness there are some plants out there that are just low maintenance.

Read more at www.gardenexpress.com.a...

Chooks! (Chickens)

When we do the commune thing -- more about this another time -- I want to have chickens. Once Will and I were driving back from Wollombi and came across one of those road side stalls that sells fruit and veges. Anyway we were out of eggs as well and they had a dozen eggs for sale at $4.00. I thought it was pretty steep but we had no eggs at home either, so I bought them. They were THE best tasting eggs. More eggy than before. Thinking that I had hit on a good thing, I then sought out free range eggs, as we had previously only bought cage eggs (cos we're cheap and I try not to think about those poor chickens) but they weren't as good... so I figure it's because the chickens the eggs came from were more "farm" animals rather than a commercial chicken/egg operation.... so I want my own chooks!

One site with lots of info on raising and housing chickens:

Read more at members.webone.com.au/~...

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

YOtel - The concept

I love this concept.  Saw it a while back when looking at the Trendsetter Newsletter.  Maybe it's because I like living in a small space?  But what to do with my stuff?

Read more at www.yotel.co.uk/theconc...

Monday, 19 December 2005

Went and saw The Aldy Group about a property and also met up with Jenny for lunch on Saturday.

Thinking about purchasing an investment apartment in Southport Central's Tower 2... Floor Plan G. It's not the most desireable direction (west) which means it will have hinterland and not water views, but an apartment in that tower should do very well... and a hinterland view will still be nice! Not that we get to live in it in any case.

Finally managed to give Jenny the Bath and Body Works stuff we got her in the US. I'm so glad she asked me to get it for her otherwise I'd never have discovered the shop on my own! Apparently she hasn't even been in a store! If I had known I would have gotten her other stuff, but thought I'd better just stick to what she asked for. Lunch was nice although the service left a lot to be desired! I had a great beef noodle salad. Yum.

Why do salads always taste nicer when someone else makes them? For the Family Xmas lunch I'm meant to bring a salad. I'm thinking a Cobb Salad... now I just have to find a recipe! I may do a cake as well as I have an urge to bake! Prolly a cheesecake.

Rusty and Natasha are coming home for Xmas. That'll be nice to catch up with them. Not sure what we are going to on the actual Xmas day though. Prob just veg. Although I think it'd be nice if Will and I could take the bike/s somewhere local and ride around some trails.

Looking forward to getting my air conditioner. Should be soon although when I checked on the Star Track site no further info other than it's been "picked up" essentially. Since it's the same depot (Sydney) not sure what that means...

Played the new Grow game. (As found on the Jay is Games site.) Great for Xmas.

Hmm... thinking of getting Will a game for Xmas. Nothing big just something for him to open on Xmas day.

Friday, 16 December 2005

Finally fixed the php / footer problem on the Custom Chocolates website! YAY! I found the deeply hidden footer.php file. It was as I suspected. I just kept finding the other footer.php file which threw me off.

Cleaned up my bookmarks... as they were getting very unruly. I wonder what the "normal" timeframe should be between clean ups?

Last night watched some Inital D (Second Stage). Wish they didn't redraw the characters (I assume they changed the artist), as it's been a while since we watched our last episode (keep borrowing those DVDs off someone who keeps buying them :) ) and I lose track of who's who! (Esp those who aren't main characters and just one of the onlooking "racers".

Wednesday, 14 December 2005

Thinking about investing in a property again. Saw a consultant today from The Aldy Group who seem very professional. The consultant was asking about my background as a mortgage broker and investment advisor when I was running Loans n Stuff.

At least I got motivated about the Chocolate again. I started up my tempering machine but had a blackout in between. Don't know if it was the humidity of the process of stopping the tempering machine (power outage) that helped seize the chocolate... but I was not happy!

The person I was hoping would be interested in helping me out on the business as a business manager can't do it (or isn't interested but letting me know politely!) ah well... back to the drawing board.

Was trying to update the catalogue on the site (www.customchocolates.com.au) but getting very frustrated! Next time I think I'll go with an easier option to have a shopping cart site! I'll check out the Yahoo shops for the Shop 4 Gifts site and have to look further into doing something for Bargain Hunter. (Sites TBA)

Heard from Rusty today! He's coming home for Xmas. That will be great. At least we'll catch up with him and Nat!!

Monday, 12 December 2005

Chocolate Yuen Bo (Ingot) is the flavour of the day. I need to work out what I need to get it to market in time for Chinese New Year. For some reason I don't think it's going to pan out. I have asked to see if a distributor is interested. But I think this year I'm going to have to only supply one or two shops in Hornsby and maybe Hurstville. I don't even think I can get production for a few shops if it's just myself. Mainly since I only have a couple of moulds (making up to 8 (2 x 4) at a time).
Very sad to hear about the racial violence that broke out in Cronulla yesterday. Even worse is that I can't see it abating anytime soon. The "revenge" factor is obviously there as it was all sparked off by a lifeguard bashing by some guys who "looked" middle eastern! Now there are smashed up cars in Maroubra as well as people in hospital. It's quite disgusting really.

Friday, 9 December 2005


Oooh, I just played a fantastic online RPG game called Grow. And after a fair number of tries I got it. Lots of fun. I'd hate to work it out first go as it will then seem easy to you. But the basic premise is to try and put the items into the world in the correct order to meet the goal/s.

And if you like, the hint is in the picture (I took a screen shot of the "winning" world).
I finished Fast Food Nation yesterday. Hmm... I'm now very very concerned about eating at any fast food place -- especially in the US, except for maybe In n Out Burgers. Apparently they have bucked the trend and hand peel potatoes for their fries and buy their ground beef (minced meat) from smaller abbatoirs.

Those large abbatoir descriptions of how they butcher the meat and how the abbatoirs are cleaned as well as the health dangers of those feed lots have made me realise why people become vegetarians in the US. My concern is what happens here in Australia? Do we have the same problems as in the US with the butchering of meat? I know we still have hormone enduced fast growing chickens. I remember reading or hearing that the increased height and bust size of the younger generations was linked to the hormones in the meat we eat. When I read about the "bigger" breasted chickens it makes me wonder...

Went for a walk yesterday evening. Trying to shed those extra pounds we put on from the US/Canada trip. Have also been riding the exercise each weekday morning for 30 mins (up from 20 mins) so hopefully that helps a bit. Although I'm not walking to the city office now so maybe I'm just even?! I think tonight we're going to attempt to do a bit of a jog around the Oval and then come home and eat dinner.

Thursday, 8 December 2005

I thought I would restart seeing if I could keep a blog... as I could never keep a journal as I was too inconsistent...

Currently I'm reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. I've been meaning to get it since I have heard about it and it spurred me to watch Supersize Me... which I think everyone should watch. I am not too sure everyone should read Fast Food Nation though as it's very scary! I am not even sure if I want to eat any meat. Now I know why a friend of mine who hails from the US became vegetarian! I'm not sure how much of the meat packing industry activities and fast food chain restaurants apply to us here in Australia... thank goodness I limit my fast food intake. Although I do go to Oportos or KFC every so often.

KFC apparently is the best selling fast food in China... and has made both Will and I think what would do well in China if it was a chain. KFC because it's fried chicken makes it quite universal. Is there a rice based fast food chain? (Other than the ones that exist in Japan... and do they really constitute fast food... )