Saturday, May 27, 2006

blowing my own trumpet

A2 of today's Age.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

when you can’t on a Canon

I love my little digital camera. It’s a powershot A70 and I have taken over 2000 photos on it in the 2 or so years that I have had it. In fact, I like it so much that I desperately want to refer to the camera as ‘her’, not it, as this piece of technology has become like a treasured friend to me.

But today, the love turned sour. The lens won’t retract aka error message E18.

I’m resourceful. I turned it on and off. Rested it for a while. Changed batteries. The lens steadfastly stayed stuck, naked and exposed.

When I got home I googled the error. I figured I can’t be the first person in the world to experience it and there was probably some simple fix.

Instead, I found thousands of hits, all about the E18, affecting many of Canon‘s digital cameras. There’s even a wikipedia page on it! Some people had cleared the problem with a bit of trial and error. Most hadn’t. Some were still in warranty. Many like mine had hit the 2 year mark. I read over 100 accounts before I gave up and felt like weeping.

Then I read that last year a class action in the States was launched against Canon over, you guessed it, our foe E18.

So by now I’ve got it sussed. This is a well documented fault that the manufacturer is aware of. I rang the company’s 1300 number. I don’t know where I was routed to. Asia I think. After talking to 4 people, most claimed they had never heard of the E18 message, I asked to get the number of the local repair centre. They didn’t have it, they told me.

I thanked them for their “help”. Frustrated that the only information I could get out of them was the location of their repair place, the fact I would have to pay $50 for an initial look-see, but not how much this (very common) error cost to actually fix.

I looked up white pages. Called the local number attached to the centre’s address. I hit the same call centre. Clever. All numbers lead to the same place. I guess those repair people don’t want to have to deal with pesky people.

So I called company HQ in Sydney. I asked if Canon acknowledged that when not caused by someone actually dropping or generally maltreating their camera, it was a manufacturing fault.


They told me it was my problem and would cost about $150 to fix.

Ok, I said, could you tell me the name of your manager? I got given the department’s supervisor’s name.

No, the head guy (and I felt pretty sure it would be a guy). No idea. Strange, there is about 250 people working in the national office, but no one knows who sits at the head of the board table.

I hung up. I went back to the drawing board and called another number for the Sydney office and got the helpful woman on reception. She politely gives me his name, spells it for me and lets me verify the address.

Next, when I can face it, I will write to Mr Tsukahara. I don’t know if he ever gets letters, on paper, through the postal service from his customers. I figure it will be a quaint experience for him. I might even print if on thick, expensive paper, so he realises I value him as a human being. I will print it on my Canon whiz-bang printer/fax/scanner/photocopier. I wonder if he will notice.

Now people, in the politest, most persuasive language, tell me how I should write this letter, to the Managing Director of Canon Australia? Do I tell him about my love affair with his products? Do I tell him how disappointed I am that my camera has let me down? Do I ask as to the honour of the company to continue to produce cameras with an inbuilt error? Do I ask him if it would be right for me to have to pay for a known fault to be repaired, just because the product was a smidge out of warranty? Do I tell him I have a blog audience who are very keen to know his response? Do I let him know that perhaps I have other media audiences who also might like to know? Do I mention the class action?

Your responses are gratefully appreciated.

I told you junk food was bad for your health

Another reason why eating at Maccas is bad for you.

(Ok so maybe it's not funny, but if it makes you think twice about eating a burger, then that's got to be good!)

not just a good cause

I happened to come upon the good folks from the My Favourite Travel Photo competion earlier in the week. I love the concept. Instead of getting distressed about those who have it really tough in life, they are actually doing something about it.

Here’s how it works.

You email them your favourite photo from your travels (just one), before July 16.

They get back to you and say, “great we want you in the exhibition”.

They frame it and hang it.

Then people come and view your wonderful pic, drink wine and generally say lovely things about you.

Then the organisers auction it off for charity (a darn good one for kiddies in Bangladesh).

You are left with a warm fuzzy feeling from not only having people think you are a great photographer, but you have helped others in the process.

Of course if you don’t have the shutter bug, warm fuzzies can also be had by coming to the auction and buying a piece.

Dante’s Upstairs Gallery, 150-156 Gertrude Street (on the corner of Napier Street) in Fitzroy. Auction will be held on the opening night, Tuesday 5 September.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

If you see a dying man on the way to the summit...

ignore him – he’ll only bugger up your attempt at being the first double amputee to reach the top of Everest.

I’m loosing faith in my fellow kiwis. Leaving another human being to die alone, not even attempting to share some of your oxygen or warmth, not allaying his fears or giving him the comfort of a witness - it's just not cricket.

What kind of theme park has the tallest mountain in the world turned into and what kinds of fools are those who wish to conquer her?

Monday, May 22, 2006


What gives you the idea I've got a thing about purple? :-)

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Gastroporn being served in the new kitchen.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

who am I?

I am not entirely single
Nor in a traditional relationship
I have a partner (nonmonogamous, don’t-fence-me-in, no commitment, no responsibility but I love you kind of partner)
I am ambivalent about the idea of living with him

I am a daughter, niece, cousin, friend
But not a mother or aunt (perversely the term “maiden aunt” kind of appeals to me, but my brother carelessly didn’t get around to having children before his untimely demise and maternity has never taken my sister’s fancy)

But when someone referred to me as a spinster this week, it riled me.

Not a spinster, in a groovy lets-reclaim-the-language kind of way. But by a smug married (thank you Helen Fielding). As in, the builder’s partner saying (on their next renovation project being for another woman living alone) “We are doing our bit to help the spinsters in the neighbourhood”.

Ok, a few things got stuck in my craw there.

Yes some of us women have no inclination when it comes to DIY (though we could if we wanted to, ovaries don’t prevent use of power tools), live in run down houses and perhaps have wiring systems that are antiques, in the wrong sorts of ways.


“We are doing our bit” like lady bountiful delivering care baskets to the poor? Some act of coupledom largess?

“To HELP the spinsters”. It would have been a great help if you had given us a spinster, single income household, discount. It would have been helpful if you volunteered your labour. But I didn’t see any reduction on the bill.

“The SPINSTERS”. As in the poor unmarried women of a certain age who must be pitied?

So if I’m not a spinster, who am I?

Friday, May 19, 2006


I've always wanted full length bookshelves running over doors. The ceiling is quite high so I could get in 2 rows (high enough to fit LPs and large books). There are lots more to go up there.

The paint colour has come out close to how it really is. Depending on the light it goes from a smokey blue, to a lavender blue. Though the walls flanking it are antique white, there was no way I was going to have an all white room!

Ignore the crap in the backyard. One day the bifold doors will open on to a deck.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

tomorrow's news today

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

getting there

One pretty pic.

Above my sink, in easy reach for a short arse like myself is a home for my most used cookbooks. Afterall I would prefer to cook than wash dishes. The pigeonholes hold memories. One houses a teapot from my favourite Pixie to honour my last graduation. Another holds a cup from a dear friend to celebrate a significant birthday. Nestled in some spaces are memories from my grandmother and other departed souls.

Kettle's on. Who wants a cuppa?

Monday, May 15, 2006


I needed some light entertainment while unpacking and this image doing the rounds came my way (thanks Col).

image originally branded by steakandcheese

PS: The new part of the house looks fab. Pics will be up for those who are interested when I clear enough surfaces to make things look pretty and find where I stored the camera cable.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

almost, but not quite

The home straight had a little kink in it. Had hoped to have moved home today but it'll be the weekend now. I've had a peek, seen the gleaming not yet fully dried floorboards and sparkling new appliances.

Hopefully brain will return to normal function once I unpack. Giving birth to a brand new kitchen seems to dull the mind somewhat.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

hangover wednesday

Budget? What budget?

"Our boys" have had a night at the pub.

"Our Eddie" has been shouting.

"Our Pete" has been giving the rich more tax cuts.

..and petrol's still $1.34/litre.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

prediction: Beaconsfield pub drunk dry by lunchtime

photo:The Age

I love the pic and banner from this morning's online edition of The Age. Those are golden smiles.

I was listening at 6am to the radio, tucked up safe and warm in my bed on a cold Melbourne morning, as the miners finally emerged after over 300 hours underground in a very small cage. For those not in Australia who haven't been following the story, it's worth a read.

In true Aussie fashion they handed their rescuers cards of thanks for "the great escape".

I've got to say listening, then watching it on telly, it bought a tear to the eye of this cynical biddy.

Though as always it's bittersweet. If the hospital releases them, they've surfaced just in time for the funeral of their mate who wasn't so lucky to survive the mine collapse.

Life goes on.

Monday, May 08, 2006

close your eyes and think of england australia

Peter "political viagra" Costello has been enthusing the nation to have more sprogs. "One for mum, one for dad and one for the country", he grinned on telly this weeked. The man is just sex on wheels so I'm looking forward to the peak in the birth rate early next year.

And what, apart from the Austin Powers like sex appeal of the treasurer is going to encourage those with fecundity to go out and multiply - an extra $5 a week for the 3rd child. Wow, what a bonus. That'll pay for the nappies, the childcare, the loss of earnings, the education...

So voters, forget about our involvement in Iraq, the rising interest rates, the further erosion of our public infrastructure and get fucking.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

how the journalist upstaged the miners

It’s now over a week since the miraculous discovery of 2 miners who had survived a collapse 1km underground, what was then 5 days earlier. A week of the repeated promise of their imminent rescue in “48 hours”. The last day alone has heralded news that the rescuers tunnel is only – 40 cm, then 1.4 m, now a couple of metres away, from the trapped men. Odd how they seem to be loosing ground. Not only is the rock 4 times stronger than concrete – but it is fast growing as well!

We are 12 days into a media frenzy. Reporters circling the little Tasmanian town like sharks sniffing a kill. Network luminaries who packed their bags for a 2 day visit, needing to send out for fresh supplies as the time til the pair surfaces continues to expand. But time has been digging its heels in. The miners appear to continue in good health and even better humour, while all the time the behind the scenes bidding war for their story grows even more fanciful.

The obligatory tv live updates are getting more ridiculous as almost every man, woman, preacher, child, publican…in the town is interviewed in attempted to bring a new angle to the story. Yes, it’s a miracle. No. their respective families will never let the men set foot in the mine ever again. Yes, they can’t wait for them to come out. Over and over and over again.

In the end it is the media contingent themselves who have injected something novel, something headline grabbing from the town, in lieu of getting the first vision of the men resurfacing. One of their own, Richard Carleton the veteran face news schlock stories, keeled over during a live cross and died.

Nothing like a bit of excitement on a slow news day!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

tyranny of distance

What do you do when a friend, someone who has been in your life for over 20 years (23.3 if you want to be exact) is in another country and having a hard time, probably the worst time in her life? There have been emails, texts…but what I want to do is call her. The problem is, her problem involves her partner and that extends to her kids as well…so talking while they are around (about 100% of her free time) is impossible. The rest of the time she is at work and in the cubicle maze that is modern offices, understandably she doesn’t want to blurt out the intricacies of her breaking heart in front of stodgy workmates.

Solution: blog about it.

Our friendship has endured a number of continents, me snogging her brother (ahem) and leaving mementos in her bed, getting her so pissed on tequila – that when she later found out she was pregnant it may have been called Margarita if it was a girl, being drama students together, inheriting her exlover, breaking up with her exlover 4 years later.

There have been earthquake cakes, landmark birthdays, some very pissed late nights, chilli beans, accolades for endurance in breastfeeding (hers), so many relationship break ups (mine), sleepovers in Wellington, London, Auckland and Melbourne, dreams of taking on Manhattan, dead siblings, bad haircuts and matching boots.

It’s time for her to find strength and wings. To believe in herself. To have faith. To have another visit again!

Hang in there :)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

on the home straight

The countdown is now on. Aside from any unforseen disasters the return home will occur in a week.

This time next Thursday I expect to be unpacking my pots and pans, being a tad alarmed about the amount of plaster dust through the unrenovated part of my house (clothes, linen, paperwork, books), eying up my bath for the inaugural soak (frantically hunting where I packed away the essential oils), tossing kitchenware into my first ever dishwasher (we never had one at home and I have always lived in old houses), looking at my empty fridge – which will be chilling champagne and very little else, comforting princess prissy paws as she reacquaints herself with a familiar but strange smelling home and I hope – drinking some of that champagne with any friends and neighbours who pop in to give me a hand.

I will not be: getting stressed about the rise in interest rates just when I have increased my mortgage, giving a hoot about who the new state liberal leader will be or beating myself up for choosing the wrong coloured tiles in the kitchen.

As much as it’s quiet and leafy down here...

...give me the inner city life again any day. Can’t wait to get home!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ambassador a "chiseling little crook"

Guess what country’s envoy Red Ken is talking about?

We all hate paying taxes. Road tolls are one of the worst. London’s ‘congestion tax’, giving little change out of $20 a day, is universally hated - except by the revenue collectors. But a number of foreign embassies have dug in their heels and refused to pay. Understandable, perhaps, countries like Sudan have no lunch money left over to pay the city for the privilege of being chauffeur driven around it. But the biggest defaulter is one of the richest nations in the world – claiming they are exempt from such local charges due to the Vienna Convention.

Strange, the USA exempts itself from codes protecting human rights, but when it comes to protecting diplomats ‘rights’ – they are quick to sign up.
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