Thursday, August 27, 2015

Consumer Watch



What do you think when something unexpected happens with a product you consume?


I don't expect to decanter everyday wine but this one we got the other day certainly needed to be. We both ended up with a mouthful of sediment. Pictured is one glass with what wasn't swallowed can be seen. Not nice on the palette.


The wine is Five Flax Merlot Cabernet 2014, owned by a company named Pernod Ricard.



To the left is a chocolate chip we bought the other day from a New Zealand firm, Sun Valley Foods. As it says, dark chocolate chips...er no. When the packet was opened they looked like milk chocolate at best.

We checked the ingredients list: Sugar, vegetable fat, coca powder (12%), emulisfier (soya lecithin), flavouring.

I don't how 12% cocoa is in anyway a dark chocolate. My wife sent an email to say she was disappointed but they didn't bother replying. Sun Valley foods, a big thumbs down.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What They Make You Do To Sign Up


I went to Stuff, a NZ website for news. I decided to comment on an article and had to sign up through my Google account. This is what I had to agree to do so. They want to....


Know your basic profile info and list of people in your circles. Includes people in circles that are not public on your profile. 

View your email address 

Manage your contacts

I decided to ignore that and publish anyway but it refused to let me do so. I am at a loss as to why 'people in my circles that are not publicly on my profile' are any business of theirs. I don't care too much about the email address but this 'manage my contacts', I don't even understand what that gives them the right to do. They also wanted to know the year I was born. What difference does that make?

Am I the only one that thinks this is a gross intrusion on personal information that has nothing to do with my simply leaving a comment somewhere? If anyone can shed any light on it, please leave a comment.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Failed Employment

I tried my hand at window repair but it proved to be a pain.

Then replacing rubber on cars, but to be honest it was tiresome.

I became a machinist making clothes and I thought I was good, but my boss showed me the door. He kept calling me a sew and sew.

I then decided perhaps a suit tailor was my vocation but soon found out it just didn't fit. I guess I wasn't cut out for it.

I then decided an architect was the way to go but my work was anything but top drawer.

I thought plumbing, but with that I wasn't flushed with success. As my boss said I 'plumbed the depths' on that one. It was a pipe dream but it actually left me feeling drained.

He said building could be my thing and I did try, but I just couldn't nail it.

House cleaning was recommended next and I hated it. I was sucked into that one. However I soon left and dusted myself off.

I thought about the army but remembered my dad's words "Do what you promise and never be a gunna".

Then I became a carpet installer but it simply floored me.

So I am at a loss as to what to do next.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Technology Prediction Fail : Recorded Music

Without getting too detailed, recorded music was originally on a cylinder but were soon superseded around WW I by flat vinyl records. They held the market for a long time despite the arrival of Stereo 8 cartridges. I used to have all my LP records in plastic sleeves that sealed to keep out dust and no LP was played without carefully being wiped by a special dust attracting cloth. I even set the weight of the playing arm to an absolute minimum lightness to preserve quality.



What LPs failed to compete against was the convenience of the cassette tape, that became popular around the 1970's. They took over the recorded music scene. The LP looked set to follow the original cylinder recordings, although they had a small, devoted following that kept them in existence.



While the cassette was convenient, quality soon dropped if the cassette player heads weren't kept clean. Sound quality was not up to the standard of LPs despite Dolby and other systems to improve it. Digitalising of music meant that the Compact Disc was invented and they took off during the late 1980's. The cassette was soon left in its dust, although a few still work with them.

Just when the CD looked to be the way for years to come, the Internet became a medium where people could download music. With portable devises to receive and playback music, not only was the CD in danger, so too were the stores that sold music.


Most music today is transmitted to us rather than bought as hard copy. Amazingly the LP is making somewhat of a comeback as the quality and the way the brain receives music from that medium (I have heard) is the best way. However, it seems that music will mainly be sent to us rather than brought via a physical medium.


Anyone that thought the cassette would kill the LP and the CD both of them have only been partially correct. The fact that the LP is reviving is one prediction few, if any, saw coming. And who anticipated that music would be transmitted to us as digital files? One is doomed to fail when trying to make technological predictions.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Healthy Banana (fruit) Dessert

Healthy food is what we want and I am all for promoting anything that is good for you, dear reader. We have recently bought a Yonanas Dessert Maker, where you put frozen fruits such as banana, mango, pineapple and berries through it. Take a few frozen bananas and feed them through and out comes a delightful dessert with a texture of ice cream. It really does work.

The thing is salad bananas are what you need to use, that is very ripe ones. Take off the skin and freeze, then process as desired. However, Australian readers may want to turn away as the remainder of the blog article could induce unwell feelings, even nausea. We went to the local supermarket and asked if they had salad bananas out the back. They came through with a box we later weighed and found to be 9kg net. A mixture of Dole and Bonita brands for NZ$2.99 in total.

That gets rid of bananas the store cannot sell for the regular price and is much appreciated by a loyal customer. It also makes an inexpensive dessert that is good for you. I can absolutely recommend the machine, unless you live in Australia. Bananas are too expensive over there, despite the fact that they grow them. For elsewhere, enjoy.

Below are the necessary ingredients.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bamboo Pillows

In NZ, they sell bamboo pillows through television and home shows. We went to the latter and came out with two of them. Neither my wife nor I can get comfortable with them. We wake up with more discomfort than from other pillows. I find I push all the foam to the sides and wake up with my head flat on the bed. My wife doesn't have that problem but still feels it doesn't shape to a comfortable height. It is the sort of product that either works for you or doesn't, but not for us at all.

The fact is the name is misleading. Only the pillowcase has some bamboo in it, none in the filling at all. What's inside it is a mixture of memory and ordinary foam (see pic below). They do state the composition but calling it a bambillo pillow - as they do in NZ - gave me a different picture of what it is.

Having said that, firstly we wanted a good nights sleep. For us a fail. Secondly we all like value for money and I have to say the $60 price for each gave me the feeling this is overpriced. That is my perception and I would be curious as to how much they cost to make.

Reviews I have since read seem to have about a third of users very happy and two thirds very unhappy. If they come your way, be aware they may or may not do it for you.

A photo of the foam that is inside the pillows we got. Surprising 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

You Could Have Had My Unwanted One

Well, maybe it's not a ride on type

I recently bought a new motor mower and happened to mention that to an elderly friend who gets her lawn mowed for her. She said that was a shame as she had a spare mower in good condition sitting idle in the garage that we could have had. I don't think she has told anyone about it though.

That got me thinking about how often this happens so I decided to sum up the situation statistically:

Number of friends she has told can have this unwanted mower if they need one: 0%.

Number of friends she informs of the mower's existence after they buy one: 100%.

Memo to self: I must remember - in about 15 years time, when I need another mower - where there is an unwanted one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Change For The Better?

Not that long ago, a man and woman would catch each other's eye. They would converse politely and start seeing each other more often. If that worked out, the man would ask permission to court the lady with a view to marriage.

All going to plan, the man would choose a moment to get on one knee and ask her if she would do him the honour of marrying him. Acceptance would then be followed by seeking her father's permission to take his daughter as a wife. The wedding would follow some time later and then they would finally consummate the love that had grown between them.

Today two people find themselves attracted to each other. They find a bed, a rear seat in a car or a toilet cubicle to take it the the next stage. If that is both to their liking they continue seeing each other and then one moves in with the other.

If that goes to plan, they continue their cohabitation until they have a couple of children and they discuss marriage. Their children can be part of the ceremony and if the lady knows her father, he gives her away.

Which way do you think led to a more successful union? Do failed relationship and divorce statistics give us an indicator?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Selfish Parking

We have all seen it, people parking without consideration for others.

Some won't be put off by that though, 
especially if they have an SUV vehicle. 

I assume they are left hand drive 
so vehicle ingress will be a challenge.

How about the blockade method? It let's the inconsiderate 'parker' know that others do not appreciate such selfishness.

Hopefully they will realise their parking is rubbish
When they trundle out of the supermarket, they will get the point
The authorities can do something about it too.

It's time to clamp down on such parking

We can have no truck with such inconsiderateness
So that about wraps it up.

I would want to shrink with embarrassment if this happened

Saturday, August 8, 2015

You've Made Your Bed.....

When I was young a popular saying of my parents - mum in particular - was 'You've (or they've) made your bed, now you have to lie in it'. If people complained about a problem they have brought on themselves, that was the comment passed. It was a reminder to me that when we make a decision, we must accept its consequences.

In my youth, people were encouraged to look at themselves if problems occurred. We now live in a world where people usually look to blame anything or anyone else for bad things in their life, as if nothing negative could possibly be the fault of the individual on the receiving end. The problem must lie elsewhere. Self accountability is a no go area.

Some things are beyond our control and some bad things are from external sources. We may not be even able to change the situation to avoid it. So how do we deal with issues, whether we were the source of the problem or not? In both instances we need to look at ourselves, and there we will find one of two things.

One, when we were to blame, we need to change something to avoid a repeat.

If I could kick up the rear the person responsible for each of my woes, I wouldn't be able to sit down for a week.

The other is when we were not at fault. Then we should work out how to handle such an event if it happens again and do it better next time.

Hurt me once and shame on you. Hurt me twice and shame on me. 

The point is we need to learn how to anticipate the negative so we can preempt what is to happen, or at least know how to handle a sudden problematic situation constructively. Admittedly, that is easier said than done. However, just letting things happen and moaning afterward is foolish. Trying to take control by stopping or mitigating the bad is the way to help ourselves.

There are those who watch things happen and those who make things happen. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Media

...but can you believe it?

Years ago I recall hearing an expression "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story". I found it hard to believe that the media could be so cynical. The worst about that is nothing has changed.

I was reading a headline in a newspaper recently. It made a sensational claim, stated as a fact. However, on reading the article it then became obvious that the title wasn't a fact at all, but an allegation made by someone. The allegation was yet to be established legally and that could go either way, innocent or guilty once judgment was passed.


I guess you could say the title caught my attention and therefore served its purpose. You could also say that its misleading wording was slanderous, because everyone is innocent until proven guilty. In addition, I may never get to see the judgement from the court, but could be left with a negative connotation of the accused. Mud sticks as they say.

The good thing I can see through the muck that is presented as journalism, even when thrown. Mud also has a habit of dirtying the hands of the thrower. In other words I have no respect for the media. Truth is credibility and if you keep on misleading others, your credibility is lost.

Monday, August 3, 2015