Thursday, November 27, 2008

not really a post, more a community service announcement

My inbox today trumpeted a special offer. Through a mailing list aimed at supporting women in business, came the chance to get one of 50 free tickets to a three day marketing seminar. At five bucks shy of $1000 this was a very generous offer, however at short notice I didn’t have the required three days free in December (one of them being a fully booked work day). But I was curious to take a look at what I’d be missing out on.

The event is billed as an “entrepreneurs bootcamp” (the “ultimate” one in fact). The website required email registration to access the rundown of the event. Clever trick but web protocol usually requires you to tick a box first to give permission for your address going down on a mailing list. So I wont be giving the url to check out this truly nightmarish business “investment”.

Firstly the website, once access is gained, showcases the worst of net design. It is full of lots of shouty, caps lock, text. The page, approximately 30 pages in length, is cluttered and has no navigational assistance. The only way beyond the opening page is to press one of the eight buttons imploring you to “click here to register”.

The style is old-school DIY publishing; you know those self-help books churned out on cheap paper with cluttered pages mixing fonts, sizes, styles, colours and formats in a migraine producing way. The site subscribes to the more the merrier school of design – crammed page, no uniform fonts or sizes, liberal use of italics, bolding and lots of exclamation marks.

The “camp” itself involves three consecutive 9 hour days. There is no program guide at all, leading me to wonder if the organizers even have a format or are just going to wing it. Or is it really just a front for a cult that’s going to lock you in and relentlessly play mind tricks on you in the guise of personal improvement?

The closing letter from the entrepreneur leading the experience ends with a P.S, a P.P.S and a P.P.P.S, which leads me to wonder if he’s following the advice of one the supposed experts at the seminar who’s forte is "How to write Killer Copy & The Art of Persuasion"?

But that leads me to the “dream team”, the experts who are going to enable you to grow your business by at least 20% “guaranteed” or the organizer will give you $1000. Yes peoples. “SUCCESS. Your Earning Capacity Will SKY-ROCKET! Absolutely!” I admit, I am just a humble small business person, I consider myself more service provider than entrepreneur so that might be why I have never heard of a single member of the “dream team” but one thing I do know, its rather odd to receive an offer from a Women’s Business network to attend a seminar lead by a bloke and his 8 males disciples. Not a single successful female amongst them. What does that tell us about women in business I wonder?

Wishing to overcome my ignorance I took an endorsement (oh yes its one of those sites with testimonials galore) and decided to find out what I could about the endorsee.

"$50,000 Extra in my Bank Account in the Next 12 Months..."_"Aaron spent just 15 minutes with me and shared 1 idea with me that will put $50,000 in my bank account in the next 12 months. If you're thinking should I do business with Aaron, it's not should you, what you should be doing is picking up the phone or getting on his website and booking him now while you can still get hold of him and by the way he actually Guarantees his product, so guys call him now You've got nothing to lose !"_- Troy Patching, Head Business Coach, Personalized Chocolates for you

I found Troy’s site straight away and his most recent post was a youtube endorsement from his coach. Not Aaron of the entrepreneurial bootcamp, actually from Mal, another of Aaron’s endorsees. If the short video is to be believed Mal is the reason why Troy has such a successful business or perhaps Aaron got him his first extra $50,000 and Mal has helped him go gangbusters from there. I just can’t work out how Mal missed out on “dream team” membership after all he’s The Most Successful Coach in the the world. So if Mal also endorses Aaron, then he must be the best entrepreneur in like…the universe!

“Hello, my name is Mal Emery and I’m what’s known as a millionaire maker in this country. I help other people become millionaires…I’ve got the biggest coaching program probably…probably in…certainly in this country…maybe in the world who knows maybe a hundred people paying me $30-50,000 each a year another bunch of people paying me between 100… what is it? (looks at ceiling) 5,000 and 18,000 dollars each, about 150 of those. So this is not about me bragging but me having the right to say ah..what i..what I know about business is…”

I don’t know, would you buy a used car from Mal?

But as I said, he’s not made it to “dream team” status, unlike Garry Kewish who talk is “You, the Information Millionaire”. Garry has 3 facebook friends, so he knows a lot about new information, his wikepedia page has been deleted due to it being deemed “blatant advertising” so he can teach you a few tricks on getting your information out on the web for free.>
Or check out Andrew Clacy who’s the dream teamer talking about "Internet Marketing for BIG Money" – while he uses a few less fonts and formats that Aaron, its certainly the same school of web design. I’m seriously looking for some web development help (anyone want to do some trading then contact me) but for a guys who’s supposedly made gazillions in web design, well he’s WAY OUT of my league.

I could go on for hours but I will get a howler. I just needed some light relief and anyway why bother with the old book proposal when all I need is a lot of crazy formatting and do my own ebook telling YOU how to UNLOCK THE SECRETS of writing your own non-fiction BESTSELLER!!!!

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Sunday, November 23, 2008


...all is explained over here.

And I extend the offer to all readers of this blog to join in with the howlers if I start posting again in the next couple of weeks.

Thanks for your support

love AOF x

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

back on the roundabout

I can be a boring nag of a not-girlfriend.

Ok, I am a know-it-all pain in the bum sometimes.

But I know the cats and can pick up when something is not right. For the last couple of months I’ve been saying, “there is something wrong with BFHO*”.

We are a blended family – I was a “lovely lady…bringing up one very lovely…cat and he was a man named Brady who was busy with three cats of his own…

Since we’ve lived together, one of his beautiful cats has succumbed to feline HIV and I’ve been a good eye on the others. They are all geriatric pussies but generally healthy and happy. Then a month or three ago I noticed one of his girls had developed a bit of dribble. She’d had some teeth go rotten and taken out earlier in the year. I was worried there were some further dental probs. The NB disagreed and said she was fine. I persisted.

Finally three days before he flies off on a long holiday he gave into my nagging and takes her to a vet.

This gorgeous ball of fluff…

…has bone cancer in her jaw.

Do we want to operate, do the rounds of the veterinarian oncologists and surgeons?

She’s 14 years old. She’s still eating, purrs and apart from a lump and mucky dribble.

Where do we draw the line at life extension? How painful with surgery be (removing part of the jaw and some teeth), how will she cope with the anaesthetic and recovery? Will she stop eating and loose weight, which is never good for cancer? How painful would the treatment be?

I give her cuddles everyday, she nestles with her front paws on my shoulder and purrs loudly. She’s enjoying her food. She likes sitting in the sun and naps on the bed.

I opt for short term quality of life versus surgery. Painkillers when necessary. The lovely vet Emma for a humane end of life at home when the time comes.

It’s not my decision, though if she is to go through the whole shaboodle it will be left to me to manage it.

What would you do?

* she is affectionately referred to as the big fat hairy ho, fat hairy ho…or just ho. Believe me, its actually makes more sense than her ‘real’ name.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

619 - Greer on Rage, on video

I openly admit to having a bit of an infatuation with Germaine Greer. While I don’t agree with everything she says, I admire the way she says it. The good people from the recent Melbourne Writers Festival sent a nice email today saying that the video of Greer’s talk “On Rage” from her latest essay, is now on the web thanks to Slow TV.

If you’ve got a spare hour watch her chat and interact with the audience.

Past rants on Greer

Greer as you’ve never heard her on RRR with Tony Biggs – Zappa, pubic lice and much more.

Hutchison and Devine on Greer.

Readings presents an evening with Germaine Greer.

Bone and Greer.

The wonderful Jane Austen conference public lecture, that kicked off my lovefest.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

618 - why voting rights like a license to drive should be reviewed with age

Conversation with my 82 year old father in New Zealand yesterday.

me: have you been out to vote already?
dad: yes
me: did mum* vote**
dad: no, I voted for her
me: what?!
dad: oh I ticked the boxes for her, she had no idea what to do

....til this moment I would have said my father is one of the most ethical people I know. All this was shot down in a moment.

However, while the election was a wash out for Helen Clark, ending a four term labour reign, there was one small victory. National did not win the seat that my parents voted in. Sadly though this conservative party seemed to have enough geriatrics ticking the boxes for them over all and have gained a clear majority (which is quite a feat under proportional representation) to rule.

* regular readers might remember my mum is going down the slippery path of Alzheimer's
** like the USA, voting is not compulsory in New Zealand

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

617 - sex, geography and demographics

Dear Stacy,

Thanks for your amusing piece on the current social demographics in New Zealand.

Just one question, can you find Wellington on a map?

Kind regards

Slim pickings: Kiwi tourism campaign pushes 'man drought'
Stacey Lobo, November 6, 2008

Aussie sheilas are not the only women down south facing a "man drought".

Our neighbours in New Zealand are suffering from the same problem but are using their lack of men and surplus of single women as a selling point in the latest Tourism New Zealand marketing campaign to hit Britain.

The campaign, spearheaded by a press release issued by Tourism New Zealand's that publicises the "man drought", was picked up by the British media who sent the call-out to its countrymen.

While the picturesque beauty of New Zealand is reason enough to lure in tourists, Tourism New Zealand has focused its efforts on the scenery of a different kind when appealing to the British male population.

Statistics New Zealand has reported that in Kapiti Coast just north of Wellington, there are only 89 men for every 100 women, earning it the title of "man drought capital of New Zealand".

But British men should not feel confined to the South Island when searching for a soul-mate, with Napier, Rotura and Gisborne in the North Island, also short of potential husbands.

Keen males should, however, steer clear from the rural towns of New Zealand, especially Otorohanga, which boasts the highest ratio of males to females at 134 men for every 100 women.

The "man drought" can partly be attributed to what New Zealander's refer to as "the big OE" - an extended overseas working holiday common among 18 to 30 year-olds. During this time, New Zealand men tend to live abroad longer than their female counterparts.

The tongue-in-cheek approach to boosting tourism has received fervent backing from local New Zealand women.

"There are very slim pickings here - most of them are solo dads or part-time fathers with lots of baggage," 28-year-old Melissa Steinmetz said.

"I am waiting for Mr Right, my fairytale prince to come knocking at my door, but I have had to lower my standards. Unless you want someone over 70 or under 20 you are out of luck."

Appropriated in full from The Age

But seriously, the thought of those pasty-faced English blokes being lured to New Zealand for a bit of kiwi tottie makes me a tad nauseas. Just as young British women were shipped off to the colonies in enforced prostitution at the beginning of our white history, the decedents of the same women are now sexual bait for a different group of English men.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

616 - lets party and worry about the mess tomorrow

I’m happy but still a bit nervous.

Being a tad pessimistic, I really didn’t think the good voting folk of the USA had it in them to vote for someone half of them would’ve wanted to lynch a couple of decades ago. This is truly monumental and now they’ve overcome the colour issue, hopefully it won’t be a big deal to elect a female president next time.

Oh, not Palin, hopefully she’ll crawl back to waving to Putin across the ditch. Now that really would be a monumental nightmare.

But once the party dies down – and the end of the Bush administration and all those associated with him really does deserve a party like no other, it is just another day tomorrow. All this talk of dreams, change and democracy still make me a little jittery in terms of policy and substance. The country is bankrupt, their national debt is in the trillions, Iraq is a mess and too many Americans still think they are on this earth to fire guns but not pay taxes.

It’s a bloody mess.

And it will take not just one person, regardless of being portrayed as part Martin Luther and part JFK, but a whole team of individuals who are visionary and can convince a nation to not just cast a vote but swallow up real change, whatever that may be.

But really, not a lot has changed – its president-elect ending his victory speech with “God bless America”. Same speech, different face.

Let’s hope there is some real change – that all citizens of the world’s leading superpower have access to free healthcare, social welfare and education. That it can play a mindful role in world politics rather resorting to using its strength to bully lesser nations.

So here’s to “an historic election”, here's to seeing the back of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld – the real axis of evil but lets just realise its another rich politician in power and there is one almighty mess to clean up.

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615 - green meme

Thanks for all your kind thoughts on my last post.

Now moving right along, Docwitch tagged me with this meme. I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s an odd kind of confessional.

The rules are below…but I don’t play by the rules, so I am not tagging three bloggers, just leaving it open for whoever wishes to partake.

The Guidelines:
1. Link to Green Meme Bloggers
2. Link to whoever tagged you
3. Include meme number
4. Include these guidelines in your post
5. Answer questions
6. Tag 3 other green bloggers.

Now that’s out of the way, lets get on with the show…

Green Meme Number 1

1. Name two motivations for being green
Other than the planet dying? Seriously do we need more motivation than that? Every now and then I am heard to utter, “She’s not happy”. The earth is definitely female. She’s been tolerant for too long. Like a woman in an abusive marriage who keeps thinking that he’ll get his shit together. Well, we haven’t.

Or at least we are trying to.

I hope its not too late.

2. Name 2 eco-unfriendly items you refuse to give up
Electricity. I know I should go for the “greener” options but honestly it shits me that the companies charge more. Some for very minimal green product. The coal industry is heavily subsidized. Why should it be cheaper than truly sustainable sources? I feel like switching to the ‘green’ plans is like saying to the power companies – go on, keep supporting coal fired stations but feel free to charge me what you want for alternative sources.

Columbian coffee. I drink so little caffeine but when I have a hit I want it to be the good stuff. Black coffee needs a gentler, rounded flavoured bean and Columbian has been my choice for more years than I choose to remember. It doesn’t weigh much but it has to cover a lot of kilometers getting here.

And it’s hard to find Fair Trade Columbian too.

(An aside – I met a fantastic Columbian artist recently who said on a particularly joyous, significant day for her, “I’m going to write a letter to the paramilitary to thank them for threatening to kill my son. Otherwise I would never have moved to Australia.”)

3. Are you at peace with, or do you feel guilty about no.2?
“Don’t sweat the small stuff”.

Am saving my pennies to get solar panels, so guilt of #1 is offset.

#2 – I’ve given up coffee so many times that really it is a small drop in the ocean. I will surely give up that couple of sips a day of brown liquid again.

My philosophy is start changing what is easiest.

4. What are you willing to change but feel unable to/stuck with/unsure how to go about it?
I barely use my car but I can’t quite relinquish having one as it represents freedom to me. I’ve spent too many years in this city traipsing around on my own in the dark by foot, bike and public transport. I get spooked more often now. I felt bulletproof before. but now I smell violence too often in the spaces I travel through. Having a car makes me feel less vulnerable at night. Though I am still frequently out on the streets without it.

5. Do you know your carbon footprint for your home? If so, is it larger/smaller than your national average?
Las time I calculated it my home is smaller than average. Not eating meat helps. But my total footprint gets wrecked every time I add in air travel. Though a small amount is for pleasure (Tasmania this year, Bali last year), the frequent trips across the Tasman to help with my aging parents really bumps up my footprint. Currently I don’t feel as if I have any other option. The upside (?) is almost all my holiday time is spent there so I won’t be jetting off across to the other side of the world soon.

6.What's eco-frustrating and/or eco-fantastic about where you live?
The upside about living in the inner city is that I can walk or tram to work and, as mentioned, use the car very little. Being able to afford a home in this part of the city means that it is a small one, with a smallish footprint. Our living/kitchen/dining area is tiny so it is easy to heat and cool. Being an old dwelling, double brick also helps, plus the insulation in the roof.

The downside – it’s a cranky old house that is difficult to retrofit with anything (the SE did an amazing job of crawling around in the metre high, 100 year old roof space putting in insulation) and being in a conservation overlay zone also can be challenging. We have a worm farm, small garden and grow a few veggies but I do wonder just how clean they are grown in city air.

Oh and its just so bloody expensive. Am saving for a water tank but that is only part of the cost – its doing things with gutters and roofs that require plumbers and all the other installation costs that blow out the budget.

7. Do you eat local/organic/vegetarian/forage/grow you own?
I buy mostly organic fruit and veg and have done so for years. I am happy to pay a bit more. It tastes better. But if I had a family of ravenous teenage boys it would be a real strain. There is a little bit of produce from the garden (the economy of such is foolish – we just spent $200 invigorating our little garden bed with organically certified poo and other such stuff). There is a certain amount of trading that goes on in the neighbourhood and with friends.

8. What do you personally find the most challenging in being green?
Being 100% aware and dealing with conflicting philosophies. I’ll choose a product using one set of criteria, such as Italian leather shoes that I’m going to get at least 8 years wear out of if I take care of them, over a local, badly made option which has usually been outsourced to a third world country to be made. But the Italian shoes come from animals (bad) and travels halfway across the world (also bad) so are not considered green by some.

And can I say (sorry NB) my cohabitant can be really challenging when it comes to being green. I find him comparatively wasteful with power, water etc

But I am not perfect and we all have our ecological blind spots.

9. Do you have a green confession?
I put in decking last year and I was given an option of two types of wood. I choose the cheaper one.


I guess I could have left the garden in a wild state for another ten years and saved up for more ecologically correct timber.

10. Do you have the support of family and/or friends?
Yes and no. Dobbing others in won’t improve matters I think. Lets just leave it at that.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

614 - swings and round about

The Weekend

The Upside is I got through my Day of the Dead in one piece.

The Downside is I didn't win lotto. $20 million would have been nice I guess.

But mind and soul being intact is no mere consolation.

What's more we spent all afternoon sweating over the garden bed. The dreaded trip to the Big Hardware Superstore that sends me into a meltdown like a three year old having a temper tantrum every bloody time. Digging in ten bags of mushroom compost, organic chicken poo fertilzer, laying down the lucerne. Good for body as my as soul I reckon.

And then just after we cracked a drink to celebrate on began to rain. Two hours of delightful wet stuff. Just what the garden needed.

Swings and roundabouts.

Lets hope the dead brothers birthday next month and Christmas go as smoothly.

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