What is home?

Today is Valentines day. February 14, 2018. Roses, Chocolate and relationships.
But this post is on snowboarding. Specifically the finals of the 2018 winter olympics Half Pipe at Pyeongchang.

Scotty James vs. Shaun White. And the Japanese guy thrown in too for good measure. The Japanese bloke gets an insignificant part of this post, but he laid down a great run which brought Shaun White up to a another level so that Shaun White eventually won gold. But there was Scotty James from Australia involved who got Bronze (the Japanese guy got silver).  Full recap here

Let’s ride

For me the finals for the halfpipe was Australia versus USA. USA won the event. However Australia won over my heart. I am a foreigner in Australia. I feel like an alien visiting earth at times going about my daily life in ‘Straya. from bicycles riding on the footpath (sidewalk) and nearly hitting me every day to drivers driving on the left to strange accents. Everything is still alien. I have been resenting Australia lately but Scotty James makes be proud to call this land home.

As my flatmate questioned during the TV broadcast of the finals.

“Who are you pulling for Adam? Scotty or Shaun?”

“Well, I already know the outcome and Shaun White wins. So Shaun White.”

My cop out answer. This was a tape delayed replay of the event which occurred live some 8 hours before.

But the question has me thinking for three hours since and thus this post.

Valid thought experiment. Who would i really root for? I would like to say Scotty James. The underdog. The 23 year old from Warrandyte, Victoria, Australia. Genuine. A fighter. A true inspiration.

Good on ya Scotty!

I will always be American at heart.  But Australia is home for now.  And my new inspiration is Scotty James.

Cheers Mate.

Keep Climbing!

The Fragility of Life

Today I learned that an acquaintance of mine, a friend of a friend, committed suicide two days ago. This was a man I met face to face two or three times for not longer than an hour and a half each time. I also spoke on the phone with him once for about 15 minutes and exchanged some text messages back and forth. I would not say he was a great friend, but he was at least a friend or becoming a friend.

A man who six weeks ago I did not know from some schmuck sitting on the bus. A total stranger in my life you could say. But, a man three weeks ago I shared some laughs and heard his struggles over a coffee and some toast over breakfast on a Sunday morning with some mutual friends. A man who shared with me a website to watch free movies. A man who genuinely cared for others. A man who invited me over to his house for a BBQ but I could not make it due to prior commitments. A man who had a wife. But a man who was deeply troubled. Outside he seemed fine. No handicap.  He didn’t walk with a limp. No physical deformities. Just looked like any other dude getting by in life. He liked watching movies. He talked about the beach and swimming.

But a man who inside had some stuff going on. Stuff that I could not even imagine.  A man who by his own admission heard loud noises in his head. Louder than a fire alarm going off. All the fucking time. Loud bells of a fire alarm in his head all fucking day. But still a man nonetheless. Struggling to get by. Struggling even just to live. But the struggle was too much and the struggle ended two days ago.

No more loud noises.

Rick, I am not angry.  I am sad. I just hope you are in a better place.

May You Rest in Peace.

 

Go Fund Me are Fascists.

Go Fund Me Does Not Support Democracy. 

Note: Post updated one week after original post.  Original Post left as is below with the update noted at very bottom of post.

They’re watching you.

I started a campaign about 24 hours ago entitled “Go Fund the Wall.  Build the Wall” (read about it here at previous blog post)  and it has been a wild, fun and entertaining 24 hours since that post.  But, the only one who seems to enjoy the post is me.

Sadly, My campaign post page to build the wall has been taken down:

1984 style Newspeak censorship.

 

It started this morning (my time) when I received the below email:

 

My well written and actionable response:

Denied. Rejected.

Multiple friends called my campaign A “brilliant” idea.  But alas, my brilliant idea was stomped on by paramilitary keyboard warriors at the Redwood City, California Headquarters of Go Fund Me.

I also have been banned from Go Fund Me:

I am not welcomed. Sort of like a digital wall, No?

Like a one night stand gone bad, Go Fund Me has kicked me to the street at 3:30am on a rainy Saturday night/Sunday morning without my shoes and half my clothes to try to stagger my way home.

I feel a bit hurt.  I would like a call or text the next day.  Or at least a hug and some breakfast before I am kicked out the back door so the neighbors won’t see me.  “Come on, just let me stay over, I’ll be gone before your roommates are up, I promise!”
I feel used.  Pumped and dumped.  Hit it and quit it.

But I do take a bit of pride in my ability to get banned immediately.

The one donation I received will also be refunded:

 

 

Lessons learned:

Save your work.  This is a freshman year lesson that I failed to heed.  I had a great, (obviously my own opinion) well written post.  But I wrote it directly in the Go Fund Me site and did not save it elsewhere.

Sadly the only part saved from my original post is this screen shot:

Creativity is not appreciated.  Come on Go Fund Me (and anyone else reading), I thought this was hilarious and good fun.

I even put the category as “Community and Neighbors” 🙂 haha!

 

Oh well, back to fascism and hate for the rest world.  I tried to help.  I’ll catch you guys poolside!

Update on March 6, 2017.  (one week after original post)

I contacted Go Fund Me support and after some back and forth, I was able to reinstate my account.  So the ban noted above was an exaggeration.  I have yet to start a new campaign, however I can log in and no longer receive the “digital wall.”  Thanks!

Back In!

 

Go Fund the Wall.

Build The Wall!

It’s going to be big, shiny and beautiful!

It seems that no one wants to front up and pay for the much hyped and promised for wall during the presidential campaign of Donald Trump (LINK).  Mexico was supposed to pay for the wall and now they don’t want to.  In Mexico’s defense, I don’t think they ever really wanted to pay for it.

Here’s my idea:  Let’s let those that voted now put their money where their mouth is. Pay for your precious wall!

CNN estimates a cost of 10.5 Billion dollars. $10,560,000,000! (link and it is not just a U.S. Problem)

So 10.5 Billion dollars needed
With 62,979,636 voting for trump (Link from this guy)

The result is that trump voters will to pay:
$168 each Trump Voter to fund the wall.

Cheaper than a shopping trip to Walmart.

To assist with the process, I started a Go Fund Me Campaign (and my first one too!! Yay!!)

Donate NOW!  Do it!

Much more detailed funding campaign specific information on the Go Fund Me page.

Link:
https://www.gofundme.com/go-fund-the-wall-build-the-wall

Donate now to protect the border and the freedom of people of the United States of America.

 

 

Update March 29, 2017. 2pm Pacific Time.

 

I received an e-mail from Go Fund Me that they do not like the post and it needs updates:


“You’ve received this email because your campaign did not include the following information in your story:

1. A clear explanation of how you know the beneficiaries.
2. A clear plan on how you intend to deliver your donations.”

So I made the below changes to my campaign page.  Let’s hope it gets back up soon!

Any suggestions are welcomed to get this needed Go Fund Me Page up!
I will answer the above now:

1.  I know the beneficiaries as I myself am a U.S. Citizen and will benefit from the building of the wall.  I personally know thousands of U.S. Citizens from just living my life.  Everyone else in the U.S. is a beneficiary from everyone I know to those who will benefit by just being a citizen.  As a result, the entire U.S. Population will benefit from this necessary and worthwhile Go Fund Me Campaign.

2.  I will deliver the donations through a check made payable to the United States Government delivered by certified mail to President Trump at:

President Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

 

 

How to Not be Accepted by Google

How to not be accepted by Google Adsense for advertisements to your website.

Google’s Motto is “Don’t be Evil.” However, what if they are evil and that is just a front?  A scam to pull the wool over the eyes of the flock of people on the interwebs? I don’t know. I’m just a bit pissed that they denied me for their services, thus me thinks they be evil.

The Googs

What I do know is that this website is a hobby.  And you can easily see it too. Just look at the design. A current 4th grader could make a better presentation. But then they would not have the wonderful life experience that I have to share with you. 🙂   I also update it about it once every few months.  About as much reliability as a intercity Thai bus schedule.  But I actually have random people visit my site.  Yesterday, I had 8 people read one article on thrift store shopping in Orange County!  Let’s just say we have a niche market here.

But this being a hobby did not stop me from applying to Google for their adsense program.

Adsense is a program to place ads on websites.  Yes, those annoying ads on the side of every site I wanted to put on my own site.  Google even advertises: “Turn your passion into profit.” (Link) So I had a grand scheme to make money off my hobby.  Time to get in tune with reality! That just ain’t going to happen.

Buy Stuff

I will relay my story of attempting to sign up for a Google Adsense.  This happened half a year ago and I am finally getting around to writing about it.  I forget the actual process to apply, but I am assuming I linked my Gmail account to my website.

Immediately after I received a response which was promising:

Alas, I got a response soon after that My account does not qualify as is “does not meet our program criteria”  Fine.

Access Denied.

Is it because I use an apple computer and own an iphone?  Nah, probably because I use vulgarity and am quite spastic.  I am unprofessional.  Good to know.  Also good to know I need to step up my game to be included in the Google way of life.  But, I actually hate ads so I am quite the hypocrite to even to want to put up ads on my site.

In reality, probably better to not have ads.  And I should be thankful for Google to deny me rather than resentful.

So, from now on I am just going to do this for fun and for free.  There is Liberation in that.  Freedom!

What is the best public swimming pool in Sydney, Australia?

Short answer:
The Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool in Woolloomooloo Bay
.  It is next door to the Royal Botanic Gardens.  Go check it out!
City of Sydney Public Pools Link    &    ABC Pool Link
Map: 

Here’s a couple photos of the place I took over weekend.  I even got a like on the  instagram from the café at the pool!  Winning!
Be sure to grab a coffee from them when you go.

Time for a swim

Longer Answer

The Boy Charlton Pool, or ABC pool as I shall call it to ease my typing, is a Summer only pool.  However there are 4 other pools in Sydney run by the city that you can use.  2 more outdoor and 2 indoor.

Stolen directly from City of Sydney Pools detail as it is a Better summary than I could provide:
Aquatic centres in central Sydney

Sydneysiders love the water and the City of Sydney proudly provides the community with 5 outstanding aquatic centres. While each centre is different, they all boast 50-metre pools for lap swimming as well as a smaller pool for learners and leisure seekers.

The stunning Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool is located on the edge of the harbour and is famous for hosting its namesake's world-record races in the 1920s. During the 2012 off-season it was closed for a major renovation and it now looks better than ever.

Cook + Phillip Park is partially underground and was designed to make the most of the natural light that streams in from outside. Its pools are indoors and open all year round.

The new Prince Alfred Park Pool was opened on 13 May 2013. The pool is the first fully accessible, heated outdoor pool in the local area. Year round opening hours are being trialed until 2015.
The Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, named after the Olympic gold medallist, is a standout example of contemporary architecture. Designed by Harry Seidler and Associates, the building is shaped like a wave and cost $40 million to construct. It opened in 2007.

The Victoria Park Pool was the first in-ground public pool to be built in Sydney when demand for such facilities boomed in the 1950s and 1960s. Opened in 1953, the pool has been refurbished many times but the original building has been preserved.

All that and more

Each aquatic centre offers a range of other facilities and services, including full-size gyms, indoor courts, fitness classes, massage/physiotherapy treatments and cafes.

 

My opinion:

Cook & Phillip is a good winter option as it is indoors, close to CBD or city hotels for any visitors.  Can be a positive or a negative depending on your situation, but there are a lot of little kids at the Cook & Phillip pool on the weekends.  It has a massive kid pool area.  So if you have children, great.  But if not, be prepared for a lot of children about.  Not to be a Grinch about it, just pointing it out.

Both Victoria Park (outdoor) and the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre (indoor and has a spa/sauna) are other options, but I have not been to either so I cannot opine on their greatness or improvements.

Have a great Swim!

 

 

 

 

What is it like to work in Australia as an American Expat?

 

The Land Down Under

An overdue article on the differences of living down under; Australia!  I have been in Australia 9 months now.  As an American living and working in Sydney Australia, there are surprising quite a few cultural differences.  There’s always the first two questions of

  1. What’s your opinion on trump?  (do you really want to know?! Or are you just saying something to fill the void of empty conversation)
  2. Do you own a gun? (well, not anymore!)

But alas, someone else had my idea of summarizing the cultural differences in Australia with an article titled: 24 things expats find surprising about Australian working culture. (Link. Tip: if the link does not work as AFR may block you, just google the article title and click in that way.  Works for me when I don’t want to pay for the articles!)

Very timely article for me as I am feeling a bit out of place in Australia and some of my favorites or the ones I relate to the most:

The Dance (#1 in the above referenced article).
Just at the bank today.

Teller: “What do you think of your new president?”
Me: “ Ahh,  none of your business.”

Come on bro, This is no bank related.  plus I DON’T CARE!!  Just fix my credit card you fools!  Ergh.

Or a separate example.  At the copy shop yesterday to get a report bound for work.  The receptionist started to chat to the customer about ‘the tennis” (in reference to the Australian Open of Tennis played in Melbourne) before getting the order down for the copy request.

Everyone assumes you know what they are talking about.  A lot more assumptions.  Maybe because everyone tends to be on the same page more in Australia and less dissenting opinions?

The Slang (12 in article)
Example that I heard within my first week at my job:
“Why don’t you update the spready to put it in the pack for the preso this arvo?”

WTF?? especially to this American.  But translated to ‘merican English:
Please update the spreadsheet to put it into the power point for the presentation this afternoon.

Or “That’s all right” used instead of “You’re Welcome” In America.  After someone else says thank you.  This still catches me off guard.  As in that aussies are not used to being thanked? Americans probably say ‘thank you’ more often that we should and definitely more often that Australian’s (see # aaaa about being direct in the linked article above).  Directness.

Won’t be long.
This is used everywhere from the coffee shop to the copy shop. To signify. Please wait. As in I have no idea how long this will take, but not “Long”  quite a cop out, face saving tactic.

Next waiting.
Called out by the teller at the checkout counter. Theoretically makes sense.  But in the states we just say “next”.

Coffee (22 in article)
Everyone likes coffee and wants to go for a coffee.  And everyone has their own special spot they have to go to for coffee.  Aussies are mad (aussie term for crazy) about their coffee and think it is the best.  But, it is not.  All it is is milky caffeine.

Grab a Coffee mate?

Flat whites are the rage here.  But come on, they’re  Just espresso with heaps (aussie slang for lots) of milk.  Latte.  Same thing.  Espresso with milk.

Where is the flavour?  I need a cup of joe!  Brewed coffee!!

No coffee at work.  Well, that is a bit of an exaggeration.  There is coffee in the office, but it is all Nescafe instant coffee.  Tastes like drinking hot dirt.

But the worst is alll the coffee shops close at like 4 or 5pm.  Why no late night coffee shops?  I guess because of the big drinking culture in ‘Straya.  Starbucks may get a bad rap down here, but at least it is open late and you can hang out and do work.

I am curious where all the students do their late night studies if the coffee shops are closed?  Just a thought.

My own contributions:

Late Lunch
Lunches don’t start until after 1pm.  I would be back by 1pm in the U.S.!  No biggie, just different.  Also, lots of people eat breakfast as work (Mainly toast or cereal).  I think more people eat breakfast at home before work in the States.  Again, just a difference.

The Weather

As a Souther California native, I find the weather in Sydney a bit bipolar.  Just yesterday morning it was over 85 degrees F (35 C) and humid.  A very sticky, icky day.  Now it is 72 F (22C)  WTF!  Why the sudden change.  If are moving from New York, Sydney is probably going to be awesome.  But for a spoiled Southern California guy, the humidity is a killer.   I am drenched in sweat before I even sit down to my desk at work in the morning!

As the scouts say, be prepared!

Make sure to have an umbrella as it showers here.  California just gets storms and you get like a 3 day warning something is coming.  Not so in Sydney.

 

Anyway, Good on ya mate for reading!

Cheers and G’day!

How does the Qantas Price promise work?

A consumer advertisement review of the Qantas Price Match Advertisement.

Let’s Roll!

Australian Airline, Qantas, advertises:

“Book with confidence at qantas.com
At qantas.com, we understand that everyone loves to score a great deal. This is why we offer a Price Promise on Qantas flights, hotels, cars, transfers, activities and cruises.
If on the same day after your purchase (or, in the case of cars, book) any of these products at qantas.com, you find the same identical product is available to purchase on any Australian website, marketed to consumers located in Australia that is operated by a company with an active ABN/ACN, for a lower publicly available price, we’ll match it.”

 I decided to take advantage of this “price promise” as I will be traveling from Australia to Thailand in October.

But first, why did I even book with Qantas anyway?

I need to fly in October to Bangkok from Sydney.  I will be traveling in October to meet up with a few friends.

From a review of a few travel sites, the price is the same or within $5AUD of the other competitors (emirates and Thai) flying with Qantas.  Now I have not flown any of these three airlines, (Thai, Emirates or Qantas), but flying from Australia as it is an Australian airline, I am a recent frequent flier member (with 0 miles!) but I anticipate to fly from Australia in the future, I was looking to fly Qantas to start accruing some Qantas points, along with other reasons.

I also was a bit weary to buy from a ticket agent. Call me old fashioned, but there seems to be a sense of comfort buying direct from the airline, thus with the price promise in place, Qantas is trying to appease customers like me and it worked as you can see by reading on.

Also, Qantas also has a high safety rating (source 1  and source 2) and is rated highly as being an on time airline (source)

The qantas price was actually what I feel that to be a fairly good deal.  $734 AUD (with a Credit Card processing fee of $9.60 AUD; the credit card fee I think is a bit ridiculous, but I will save a rant for that later).

Bestjet.com was advertising $680 AUD.  But I bought with Qantas and submitted a price claim.

The skyscanner results
Kayak Results

 

On to the Price Promise Review:

2:30pm Flight purchased from Qantas.com and subsequent screen grab from competitor site ( BestJet via a search on skyskanner link:http://www.bestjet.com/review)

2:50pm Claim Submitted and automated e-mail response received.

3:13pm Claim Successful! And response received I will get: “53.36 AUD to match the lower rate found.”

Success (yellow highlights are my own call outs)!!

 

Now I won’t get this until I leave on my trip, but it will help subsidize my Thailand fun!

Key things to point out when submitting your Qantas Price Promise Claim:

  • Submit your claim the same day.  Not only does your screenshot have to be from the same day you bought your ticket, but your claim needs to be submitted the same day.
  • Need a time stamp within your screenshot.
  • Screenshot has to be less than a certain size.  I had to resubmit my price promise application because my screenshot was too big a file size. So make sure you get that automated confirmation e-mail after you submit to ensure your request went through.
  • Refund not to be received until after the departure per this table from (Qantas link: http://www.qantas.com/travel/airlines/price-promise/global/en)
Qantas details

 

I will update once refund finally hits my credit card to let you guys know the full process works, but as of the time of writing I am satisfied.

Happy Travels All!

 

 

 

 

 

A discourse on the recent Trump inauguration. Or Let’s Grab America by the Pussy!

Pussy. Pussy. Pussy. Pussy. Pussy. Pussy. Pussy. Pussy. Pussy.

Picture stolen from this site

What a great freaking weekend!! Pink pussy all over the television. Granted, mostly hats.   I just want to write about pussy. And what a great excuse!!

I have not written anything on this site in ages and this post sure won’t make friends. Purely out of fear of what people will think, I have not posted. And this will probably piss anyone off who reads it. But here goes anyway.

So, a warning to cover my ass and give me an excuse to carry on, some pure drivel follows.

Everything on Facebook the past few days is about pussy! How amazing. Pink pussy. Old Pussy. Young Pussy. Tight Pussy. Wet Pussy (with reference to the California flooding) Even male pussy:

Picture stolen from this site

All because the 45th president of the United States is not a woman. Dare I even mention his name?

Donald J. Trump.

And this bloke who is now the president of the U.S.A said some stuff people don’t like.

Before it becomes outlawed for a man to say pussy, or before I completely disowned by everyone I know, I would like to have some fun writing about Pussy too!

You see, I now live in Australia. 10,000 miles from current events in ‘Murcia. I am a bit isolated from happenings on the mainland. Hell, I gave my homeland a giant Fuck You 9 months ago when I got up and left to move halfway across the world.

But in my honest opinion, I don’t think the Pink Pussy Hat Women’s March pushed the edges far enough. Should have taken the tone of the guys from south park or NOFX and really pushed the envelope.

Something like the Bleeding Vagina March?

Or the Crusty Cunt March.

Did you know that there are over 140 ways to say pussy, (according to this site)?  Could have had so many signs!

Like George Carlin Says, You can’t say Cunt in America (link). But guess what!? You can in Australia!!

Cunt is a sacred Aussie Word. A term of endearment between good mates (friends) and used to signify friendships as in:

“he’s a good cunt.” (said with all the utmost positivity) (for those who are unsure a simple google search will backup my claims)

But Cunt can also signify distaste, like the more common usage in America.

As in: “he’s a fucking cunt”(said with disgust)

Notice how cunt is used referring to a male in the above examples. There is no regard for gender with the Australian usage of the word cunt. Where in the U.S it is only used for females (think of how El Presidente Donald might refer to Hillary).

Pic stolen from here

Now, keeping the above in mind and to bridge the gapping, spreading wide gap that would be a hotdog in a hallway of all this recent bi-partisan shenanigans, about the new president, Donald J. Trump,

I made a Haiku:

Cunt Cunt Cunt Cunt Cunt
Cunt Cunt Cunt Cunt Cunt Cunt Cunt
Cunt Cunt Cunt Cunt Cunt

The best part is that the above Haiku can be both positive (based on the Australia way of saying Cunt) or Negative (the American version). So take your pick! I am here to be Generous and not take sides.

To end on a happier note for the pink pussy hats, make sure to buy your dildo of the day.  (purely a promotional link and a shout out to a friend who may read this far ).

With Peace and Love, G’ day Mate. You all are all right and a bunch of good cunts for reading this far.

A review of iherb.com for online shipping of vitamins

After a recent time of being sick, I thought that it would be time to stock up on vitamins. However, I am in Australia. Vitamins here are expensive. Super expensive.  At Coles, the local grocery store, it will run you over $25 AUD for a 60 day supply of a mens’ multivitamin (Link) or  Vitamin C at over $30 (link).  Plus it is hard to get melatonin in Australia (I use melatonin to help for sleep; wiki link here).   Amazon sells the same Melatonin in the  U.S. at US $11.58, but sadly Jeff Bezos at amazon and his team will not ship to Australia. Walmart does not either, but I will be damned if I ever shop at walmart again.

After my complaints to an Aussie coworker, she recommended that I try iherb.com.  iHerb sells a 180 capsule package of Melatonin for AU$17.15 (US$13.08 at current exchange rates) Not too bad.  Plus iherb.com will ship for free orders over $40 (to both the U.S. and Australia).  So On July 3, I stocked up and bought from iherb.

IMG_2413
Pills are good. Pills are good.

On to the iherb.com review.

The site is fairly straightforward and easy to use.    They sell everything I needed to buy and then some. (aspirin, vitamin C, Melatonin and NAC at the recommendation of this blog)

The timing on the shipment:  Purchased on July 3.  In my hands on July 12th at 8am.  7 business days later to ship accross the vast pacific ocean.  I could have had my vitamins sooner, but I had to physically go to the post office to pick up my goods.

No U.S.A dropoffs from UPS or fedex in Australia.   Like Mitch hedberg says, “I love my fed-ex guy cause he’s a drug dealer and he doesn’t even know it…and he’s always on time” (As a side note, Mitch also likes toast too)!

My package has arrived.
My package has arrived.

Conclusion.

I am a satisfied customer.

If you are in the U.S. and have an Amazon prime membership, which is probably most people these days, Iherb may not be the best option for you as Amazon will get you sorted in a couple of days. However, for those outside of the U.S.A looking for a good option to get your supplements and vitamins, check out Iherb.  I used them and

Don’t take my word for it, read their slick marketing page here

Use this link hereiherb.com here to get $5 off your first order (Notice: I get a referral if use the link, but you get a discount too! so we both win)!

Stay healthy my friends.