Wednesday, 28 December 2011

HK Scheme 6000 update

On Thursday 22nd December 2012 at lunch time, I wandered down to the Bank of China near Wynyard station (Sydney) and filled in my application form. The form was to apply for the bank account. The bank also took a copy of my passport and my HKID as well as a letter in the same name which had my home address.

If you can read Chinese, here's a photo of a sign which was a the branch with some details:

The bank branch was very quiet even at lunch time. There was one lady who was at the enquiry desk who helped me out. I took a seat and explained what I wanted to do and she just asked me if I had all my ID and documents with me.

I had to write my Chinese name a couple of times which was a bit embarrassing as my handwriting looks like a 5 year old's! You know how some kids may write S or L or some other letter "backwards"... that's the type of handwriting I have! I had to silently giggle when the lady asked if I could "read Mandarin"! (Not Chinese but "Mandarin"). In any case I wouldn't be able to handle a fully Chinese written form especially if it was in simplified Chinese so I just said no.

After I filled in the form/s, the lady checked it for me and I paid my A$100 cash (remember to take cash!) and got a receipt.

Apparently now all I have to do is carry my HKID everywhere in case someone calls to verify who I am.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Afterburn (EPOC) and Tabata

I’ve recently learnt about Tabata and how this can help me optimise the time I spend on exercising. Reducing it down to less than 5 minutes a day! So of course I had to give it a go.

I started this on 19th December 2011 so it’s still early days. Let’s see if this can replace the longer runs I would normally do with Sprocket.

I decided to do this with my trusty exercise bike (seriously this has been probably the item which has been the best value in terms of exercise equipment – I bought it around 1995 for over $200 from Rebel Sport and I’m still using it regularly!). So I exercise in quick intervals of 20 seconds going as fast as I can and then 10 seconds of slower cycling. To make it easier I downloaded an Android App (Interval Timer AD) to help me identify the end of the 20 or 10-second ‘stints’. I wonder why the 20 seconds seems so long and the 10 seconds so short Winking smile.

I do this for 8 cycles and after I can feel it. I can feel the ‘Afterburn’ and my heart rate is accelerated. Actually I should grab my heart rate monitor and see how my heart is going (although I never really understand where I need to be etc and have to look it up every time).

The Afterburn (or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen consumption – EPOC - is the technical term) lasts for quite a while! Apparently this will help my calorie burning which is why I only have to do the 3 minutes and 50 seconds of exercise (the last cycle doesn’t need the 10 seconds of ‘rest’). I still walk or run with Sprocket in the morning before I do this Tabata so between the two I should lose some fat from this Smile

After the 3 mins 50 seconds I am a total sweat ball! And have been sitting on the couch doing some eye exercises for 5 or so minutes. I use the interval timer for that that too but any timer will do. Another benefit of the Interval Timer AD app is that it logs the exercises for me and I can save the timer ‘settings’ and load them up.

If you are thinking of doing Tabata or interval training I would definitely recommend using an app as you really don’t want to try and think or count whilst going all out. On the bike I’ve found that I reduced from “level 4” intensity to “level 3” and now have set the bike to “level 2”. It’s hard! But the good thing is that it only goes for less than 4 minutes! I’ve yet to do it more than once a day and this morning I skipped it as my calf muscles were feeling tight.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

HK Scheme 6000

The HK government is doing HKD6000 handouts to all Permanent Hong Kong ID holders. After hearing about this for months now my mother tells me to hurry up and sort it out.

Unfortunately I need to get a LOCAL (as in Hong Kong) bank account open in my name (ie not a joint account).

Anyway I wandered down to the HSBC branch and they can’t help me unless I want to wait 6-8 weeks for an account to open. I then went to Citibank and they can open a foreign currency account but not a ‘local’ account… so I tried Bank of China. I just called them as I didn’t want to walk down there (after having just come back from that way). And they can do it all for me! I just need to bring my HK ID, Passport and evidence of current address. All of this needs to be done by 30th December 2011! So get your skates on down to your local Bank of China branch (there aren’t too many of them) and pay your AUD100 to get your HKD6000!

More info about the scheme here:

Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Eye Fix–Doing the Star Chart Drill

After the first run of exercises, I tried to get around with just wearing either my really weak contact lenses I had from before (they were daily ones which were around –4.50) but it wasn’t working too good.  But it was a whole site better than trying to walk around with the –4.00 or –2.75 glasses which John had provided me.  I lasted a whole of one work day and a weekend before I reverted to wearing my normal contact lenses.  These normal contact lenses had already been backed off by me so hopefully didn’t impede my progress too much.

To give you some idea of the progress, whilst wearing the –2.75 lenses I had to bring my laptop very close to be able to do any work.  Right now I’m typing away at my laptop in a normal position and I’m doing fine!!

So today was a cloudy with periods of sunshine type day.  I was able to do some drills including the first time with the Star Chart.  So I first did my distance drills and saw a bit of improvement.  And then I did my Star Chart drill and was very excited about the improvement. John did indicate that I would be OK with the –4.00 and driving and at the time I was very concerned about the state of blur but after the star chart drill I think it will be fine. 

So here are the results:


I was standing in the same position as before so the improvement from the start to today is 4 lines!  When using the –4.00 lenses I was only able to get to line 9 with both eyes, now it’s line 13 using the same lenses!  (The exclamations marks are due to my level of excitement).

So anyone who is “only” –2.00 ish in short sightedness I urge you to contact John and give it a go rather than do the laser surgery. 

I will continue and see how much progress I can now make but I suspect the ‘bulk’ of the improvement has been already made.  But I can be convinced otherwise… I didn’t think I would be able to drive with those –4.00 lenses and that one set of exercises has disproved that assumption.


I’ve subscribed to Sustainable World Radio as a podcast feed and came across an episode about building and building in cob.  So of course now I want to build one in Howes Valley.  I want to start small (more likely to be achievable!!) and will learn from building a “pizza” oven (earthern oven) first.  I’ve been using Spool to download a number of YouTube and Vimeo videos to see how others have been building them.

At this stage the pizza oven has to come first.  The base is the interesting component and I’m wondering if I should use the legs of a table I don’t like… and just build more stone around it and mortar it in with a cob/cement mix mortar.  And I want to expand on it by building some benches or sitting area for the BBQ/Pizza oven.  So I’m picturing a layout something like this:


The middle will be workable height (using my table legs possibly?  or some sort of block work to build a BBQ and Pizza oven area) and then on either side facing both the house and the view – this may change and maybe I will do two inward facing horse shoes instead like the below or some combination or one big conversation pit facing the pizza oven and view... The oven first!! But it’s good to have an idea of what to do next Smile  The benches I’m thinking will be built using straw bales to form the bulk of it and then covered with cob and plastered.  So the seat will be one strawbale high and the ‘back rest’ another strawbale high.  Based on that I’m thinking each side bench would be 12 strawbales plus cob.

BlogCobConversation pit

The conversation pits seem quite cool too.  We’ll have to see when we have the oven in place what feels better.  I’ll probably still build it out of strawbales and cob as it should be faster than cob alone. 

Now I want to get some cob books from Amazon and it is Black Friday… oooh so tempting!  But I should also check out to see where I can get the books cheaper…

And a couple of pics of cob ovens I like:

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Improving my Eyesight–first time drill

I received the lenses a little while ago but couldn’t do any of the exercises until I received the glasses.  John (John William Yee) sent me two pairs of glasses as one was weaker (-4.00) and one stronger (-2.75).  I would have called it the other way around but that is how he refers to them so to be consistent, so shall I.  I need the glasses as my contact lenses and other glasses would be obsolete as my eyesight improved (what an exciting prospect even if dislike the wastage of it.  Does anyone need any toric lenses in around the –4.75 mark?  Open-mouthed smile)

I’ve been excited once I received the lenses and glasses but really needed to wait for some daylight to do the first test as the exercises required me to look into the distance. A bit hard if there is not enough light to see very far!

So this morning I woke at my normal time and convinced Sprocket he didn’t need to go for a walk and remembered to not put in my normal contact lenses.

I prepared by pulling up the instructions from John on how to use the lenses and also what to do for the first set of exercise/s – he calls it the Distance Drill. It was a cloudy morning so I turned on both the kitchen and dining room lights and decided where I would do all my testing.  The line behind the kitchen bench with the Snellen eye chart on the wall would do.  I suppose it’s about a 1.5 – 2m distance.

I started by testing with no glasses/lenses to get some sort of benchmark.  Great I could only barely make out the top letter!  Hmm… and then proceeded to test with both eyes using the weaker glasses and then each eye.  It was then a trial with the left lens and a Distance Drill.  And more testing.  And then the right lens.  And more testing. 

It took a lot longer than I expected as I had to constantly go back to read instructions on how to do things and what the next test would be and to record the results.  Especially when I was trying to remember the sequence of letters I was able to read and then try and write it down whilst popping my head back up to hold down the left or right eye and read the chart!  Anyway I think I will be much better placed as I have now put the results in a spreadsheet format so each time I do it now I just have to follow the spreadsheet and fill it in.  I have also numbered the Snellen chart with numbers so I know which line I can read. 

It’s always a hard call as they are always still a bit blurry and I wonder how blurry it can be before I say I can read it.  On top of that there is always the blink blink blink and the ability to read a bit better/worse!

Anyway the proof is in the pudding or in the spreadsheet in this case!


After the drills I improved up to three lines!  One or two of the individual eyes tests weren’t as good (as you can see where the number decreased… ) but I think overall the results are good.  It could also be the blink blink blink issue so I’m not too concerned.

This morning I have packed my stronger glasses (the –2.75 ones) and am wearing the weaker ones (-4.00) to work as I don’t want to reverse what good I may have done this morning!

Let’s hope the next set of instructions from John gives us similar type of results.  I also need to find out how often I can do the drills.

If you want more information on what I’m doing have a look at the site:

Friday, 14 October 2011

The Eye Fix project

Over the past few years I’ve been trying to improve my eyesight without laser surgery.  I keep thinking back to a conversation I had with someone when Hurricane Katrina went through the US and their comment about possibly not being able to see what was happening in an event of a catastrophe.  That’d be me.  I wouldn’t be able to find my contacts, and even if I did, how long would it be OK to wear them for before they didn’t work?  I’d be blind.  I don’t mind a bit of a blur but I’d have to be able to see anything dangerous.

So I started investigating options.  Whilst friends of mine and my brother all got laser surgery and highly recommended it, I just am not convinced that is the way to go.  I searched the internet for some options.  I even went to a training course in Mosman run by Vision Training to learn some techniques.  They were good but I didn’t have the dedication to practice and train my eyes as much as I should.  Also the methodology was around pranic healing which is all good and well but I didn’t see any real improvement from this type of healing.  Maybe I had to be a real believer first?  Or just do it over and over and over again until it worked.  Regardless I didn’t and it hasn’t worked for me. 

So some of my other options were:

  • chikung
  • Martin Sussman
  • Bates Method
  • Plus Lens therapy

Of these, the plus lens therapy sounded appealing to me so I went out and bought some plus lenses to try out.  Again due to my sheer laziness I haven’t managed to do too much there! 

From one of the chikung websites there was a review of Ortho C which had a method whereby you wore a special lens just once and it would improve your eyesight.  It sounded like my sort of thing!  Although I like a structured approach and the constant reliance of “just” doing exercises was a bit difficult for me.  Wearing a set of lenses would be much easier.

So I went to the website for Reversing Near Sightedness and ordered the book. 

After a couple of years of procrastination and trying the plus lens therapy and doing the pranic healing on and off and the eye exercises I decided to contact John from Reversing Near Sightedness again.  This time I am ordering the ‘program’.  Normally John works out of a clinic in Toronto Canada but my being in Australia means it’s a bit difficult for me to get to his practice!  He’s kindly set me up on an email program which he has heavily discounted.

So to start with this is what we have done so far:

  • Got my contact lens prescription from a local optometrist.  Needed to also get the “K” reading
  • John sent me an eye chart to have a baseline of my eyesight
  • Checked on what I do (office work in front of a computer) and how often I drive (about 2-3 times a week) and I’ve advised him that I wear contacts most of the time
  • Offered as part of the program to provide me a couple of pairs of glasses (evening/day). 

I’ll update my progress after I get my lenses and the glasses.  I really hope this will work.  I don’t anticipate that this therapy will allow me to improve it to 20/20 vision but an overall improvement so I don’t have to wear glasses (or contacts) when out and about would be a great win!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Run my own store?

So I’ve started another Plan B strategy.  This time I hope it lasts (and works!)  The good thing is that I have been buying the product for over 2 years now and continue to like the products.  So now it’s building up a business and get to the stage where I can possibly apply to have my own store.  The business plan use to be very difficult to understand but apparently it will become easier after 1 August 2011.  I joined last Monday and will be going back to the Hurstville store to get more advice from Diana how to run the business and generate some business.

Apparently if I build the business well, I can apply to open my own store which in itself will build volume and revenue.  Maybe in about 12 months time when things stabilise I may be in that position.  The other good thing is that the business is about to go to China  and Colombia and Brazil.  It’s already in the US and UK and I think in Canada too. 

I’ll be selling some of my initial purchases on as that’s how I got introduced to their products in the first place when I bought a water filter – as it was one of the best options to remove fluoride from drinking water*.

The business sells a range of products from cleaning products, food, cosmetics, undergarments (!), kitchen gadgets and pseudo (?) health benefit products (I’ll probably review a few of these as I have my doubts but then have seen some good results from various special bracelet type things which have helped arthritis). 

Some of the products I have been (repeat) buying are the water filter, the 3 in 1 coffee, the chilli shrimp paste and some of the cleaning products.

* if you want to know why I don’t want my drinking water with any fluoride or you want to read more about the debate here’s a link to wikipedia about the controversy:

**  I just read the T&Cs from the company and have removed reference to the company name at this stage.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Mum is Cancer free!!

The big news this week is that my mother is free of cancer… well it’s no longer detectable from the CT and PET scans she had in the last week or so.  So that’s is the best news we could have expected! 

She was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL) Stage 4 in early April.  She was booked into doing Chemotherapy (R-CHOP14) from May 19 for a series of 6 treatments (each 2 weeks apart).  The diagnosis was made after a PET Scan was performed where a number of areas were detected to have fast growing cells (which is what a cancer does).  The latest scans were done on Tuesday and the result was provided to us by Wednesday by Dr Penny and Dr Ho.

At RPA for the PET Scans they had provided us a CD Rom of results.  The CD was labelled as ours to keep (and hang onto).  We did have a look at it but weren’t able to make head nor tail of it.  In the end when Dr Ho asked for it we gave it to her… unfortunately I hadn’t taken a copy of it.  At least we managed to get a copy of the PET Scan and CT Scan results which gave my mother the all clear!

Mum’s blood test showed she had a low blood count so we went in on Saturday for a blood transfusion.  It was done at ACU (or the Ambulatory Care Unit).  I thought it was a strange name as it sound like it’s someone who can’t walk but apparently it’s a unit for people who CAN walk.  Anyway it was at that department where my mother sat for 6 hours ‘receiving’ blood.  I now feel I need to go to the blood bank and do some donations to at least top up what my mother took out of the system!

So one more chemo was done on Thursday… and then only one more to go so my mother can start fully recovering from the surgery and cancer.  The end of the final cycle is August 11.  I think that’s a day worth celebrating!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Long time between posts

It's been a while since the last post.  I constantly have ideas about what to post on but then find I lack the time to post and once I do sit down, I've forgotten what I was going to post about!

Anyway this one is fairly mundane and just an update on our movements.  Basically we're moving house!  Will, myself and Sprocket are moving down to Lugarno.  We have managed to secure a waterview house for rent -- and the biggest bonus (other than the view!!) is that it should fit all our stuff.  It even has an underhouse storage area and workshop.  Most of this we didn't even realise when we went for the open for inspection as there were about 15 groups of people looking at the same time we were, so it was fairly hectic.  I'm actually quite surprised we got the house in retrospect as apparently there were other people who even offered more than the rent price.  The week we applied we also had two others we had applied for.  Both of those were higher on our preference list.  Strangely enough maybe it's just psychological but I feel we got the best choice for us in the long run.

The reason we are moving in a bit of a rush is that my mother has been recently diagnose with Cancer :(  It's non Hodgkins Lymphoma.  She's been going through Chemo and has done two sessions now.  It's pretty terrible to see her go through this and I can only imagine her pain and discomfort.

One thing I've been reading up recently is on herbal solutions.  Even if it's preventative I think it's worthwhile taking as I'd hate to have to see anyone else I know go through what my mum is going through now.  I've been reading on Sonya's blog about Dogs and Herbs.  And from there I followed a link to read about Isabell Shiperd and I'm now looking into getting a couple of her books and a heap of herbs!