Monday, 23 July 2012

weekly round-up 6.

Hullo one and all!

This past week went quite quickly and now I only have one more week before university starts again for a second semester :( This saddens me but also makes me determined to enjoy my last week as much as possible!

Stay posted this week for some posts that I'm looking forward to sharing with you all :)

I couldn't not show this photo again -- he's so cute! // I made this stool with my own bare hands people!

Watching Justin's soccer game and the sky looked so unreal // Buffy used me as her personal pillow... 

I found a new coffee spot and they had cute little table decorations! // Strawberries dipped in chocolate happened. Definitely the highlight of the week!

What did you all get upto? :)

Thursday, 19 July 2012

the little car that could.

On Tuesday I helped a friend move house. I got up nice and early (I slept in), threw some breakfast in a zip lock bag, threw on my sunnies and hopped in my, unbeknownst to me, little beast of a car.

I puttered along the freeway, from Sydney to Corrimal and after a few wrong turns, rocked up at the right house. Her contents were spread over three cars and my car was lucky enough to get a chest of drawers in it, a few boxes and some blankets.

This is where I would like to wow you all with the significance on such a feat. I drive a Holden Astra. The hatchback version. Don't know what this is? Google it. Suffice to say, my. car. is. pretty. small. It just doesn't have any guts (or so I thought!) and struggles when you add ONE extra person to the car. 

We made it up a seriously steep mountain with NO problems. My car was flying! All of the other cars were so incredibly jealous.

The moral of the story is don't underestimate your car (or people for that matter; it's a bit of a metaphor really) and also that my car is... THE LITTLE CAR THAT COULD!

I leave you with some pictures of the whole affair!

Say hello to my little friend!

Snug as a bug in a rug...

Z's pet dog; Diesel

Hope everyone is well!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

product review: graphics tablet

For my birthday (almost 2 months ago) I was lucky enough to get the Wacom Bamboo Tablet. I had been lusting after this bad boy for awhile and had not so cleverly disguised this and what do ya know?! Not-so-subtle hints work. Link to Wacom Bamboo products here.

My tablet is the 3rd Generation 'Bamboo Pen' and fits comfortably inside a 10 inch carry case. It is a matte black, with a lime green base and connects to my laptop via a USB cord. In terms of tablets, this one is considered small but I find it perfect for my needs. Link to the tablet here.

The compact size of my tablet means I can take it anywhere I need and feel secure knowing that it looks inconspicuous. I carry it around in a case I picked up from a chain store called Typo -- the case is actually marketed for the 11 inch MacBook air but I find that it does the job just perfectly. Link for the case here.

The Bamboo Pen tablet is very user-friendly. Initially I wasn't that quick with it, having to remember that the tablet is synced with the screen and does not function in the same way that a mouse/mousepad does. After a few minutes though it became very natural and easy to use.

It has made such a difference to my editing capabilities on Photoshop, as I can now achieve far greater precision. The key benefit of this product is the pen pressure control. This allows for incredibly accurate brain-to-screen creations and does not leaving you feeling frustrated. 

As you can see, you can achieve a lot with this little guy. My only concern is what will happen if I scratch the surface of the tablet or wear the pen tip down. I don't foresee either of those things happening in the near future but if they do, you'll be sure to hear about it. 

My next step is to work on perfecting my drawing skills and utilising this product to its full capabilities!

Do you have a graphics tablet? Do you have any tips or tricks for using it?

Monday, 16 July 2012

weekly round-up 5.

Hello lovers!

Let's round up this past week and put it in a post. And go...

Attended the rugby on Monday night. Suffice to say it was cold and the game ended in a draw. Most of the second half was spent trawling through Twitter and Facebook... // Showed my little car some love and scrubbed her up. She's so shiny now that all the boy cars stop and beep when we sit at the lights :)

Say hello to my new shelf. This bad boy resides above my desk and is purely used for books at the moment. I'm quite enamored with him though. Makes me feel very organised and like I'm truly channeling IKEA. // Bought me a new camera this week, the Canon S100. It is lurrrrrrrrrrrrrrve baby.

I also caught up with one of my best friends and her new baby this week but forgot to snap any pictures :( I was so overwhelmed with the cuteness of the whole situation and how amazingly well she has taken to motherhood. This is where I'd just like to point out that I realised quite resolutely that I am nowhere near ready for mini-me's (although THAT idea is somewhat appealing..) The closest I am coming to motherhood for the next 5-10 years is having fur-babies. 

Hope everyone had a lovely (and enlightening!) week too! 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

book review: 50 shades of grey

Christian Grey's sweat: the notion does odd things to me. 

The only way one can read this book is to constantly repeat the phrase keep calm and read on.

Fifty Shades of Grey is one of those books that you have to read because you can't not, and one of those books you should never read because it's utterly ridiculous.

That being said, I enjoyed it. For the most part.

It traces the relatively quick establishment of a "relationship" between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. By the way, I hate her name. And as far as male leads go, he's a freak. But for some reason that I'm sincerely worried about, I didn't hate him as much as I expected to.

If you love BDSM, I don't actually know how you'd feel about this book and the way it is explored. This book provides a pretty clear image of how society looks these days -- a bit confused, a bit too indulgent and a bit on the strange side really. James makes some pretty subtle remarks on the state of society, notably in her reference to the decline of feminism in the 21st century and the rise of formerly unspoken social activities.

Unfortunately this is all done through gratuitous sex. I have a feeling that this is what made this novel so popular so quick. Everyone loves a heavy dose of written porn to make the daily commute a bit more interesting right?

James had a good point and hammered it home again and again and again and again. Then her point got lost and everyone just thought 'I want to be spanked!'

Right idea, poor execution. If you're not looking for the social commentary, you could quite easily miss it. I was pretty surprised by Anastasia Steele in general but in retrospect, I don't think I should be. This book wouldn't really work without her appalling eagerness and sexual prowess, traits required of characters in her position (excuse any and all puns henceforth).

The upside of this book is that BDSM gets a bit of action in popular media, child abuse and its long-term effects are explored in an unconventional way and I paid less than ten dollars for this experience. The flip side is that you need to read this book on the sly, child abuse is not adequately addressed and manifests into a nymphomaniac, BDSM-practicing, sex god and Anastasia Steele represents women of today's society.

In between being confused, shocked, uncomfortable and happy, my main emotion was frustrated. No, not sexually but just plain old frustrated. Why?

Errors in production. There were several grammatical and spelling errors that went unnoticed even though they really shouldn't have. There is nothing more off-putting than discovering a typing error, as they completely undermine the actual words. Perhaps it was just my Kindle version but either way, it left me feeling like the publishers didn't even have the proper regard for the book.

How's that for social commentary James? Bam.

Have you read it? How did you feel about it?

Saturday, 7 July 2012

how to avoid bad customer service

That's me behind the counter.
That's my "please die" face.
The "sitch"

At present, I work in the "retail" industry. I've had a few jobs and the general premise for all of them has been - serve people, get paid. I actually enjoy working in retail, something which surprises most people. I enjoy the varied work, the busy environment, getting to meet people and let's be real, folding clothes is better than dunking fries in vats of really hot oil. 

The downside? The really, really rude customers. It boggles me how rude some people are and yet they feel they deserve immaculate service and the best products and a discount and a fanfare as they depart. 

"Non-negotiable" requirements

Most people don't realise the intensity of these requirements that exist in the retail industry. Some retail "rules" include:

// Greet customers within 30 secs of them entering the store
// Within 1 minute you will have asked them an open-ended question
// Golden phrase: add on and up-sell 
// Wish them goodbye by inviting them to return again.

Things like this are not up for discussion. Especially if a manager is on the floor. I have no choice but to be bubbly, to ask how you are, what you're doing today, what are you looking for today, how's the fit etc. If I don't ask these questions, I get in trouble. 

The BIG one is greeting customers. It breaks the communication barrier, so even if I'm too busy to follow through with extra questions, you as the customer will feel more comfortable asking me for something. 

Let's get real here...

This is my go-to greeting -- 'Hi guys! How you going today?' After you respond my next go-to question is 'What are we looking for today?' Yes, I say we. It's wanky but it forms a verbal relationship between us that places me on YOUR side and so the shopping experience is more enjoyable (some say...)

People who work in retail/hospitality etc are customers too when they are not working. I get it, sometimes you just don't want any help. And that is completely fine. What is NOT fine however is...

'Hi guys! How you going today?'
Scenario A: *crickets*
Scenario B: look me up and down and don't answer
Scenario C: look me up and down and do a tight-lipped smile
Scenario D: walk away even though I know you've heard me
or my personal favourite...
Scenario E: "WE'RE JUST LOOKING!!!!!"

None of these are appropriate responses. There is no need to be rude. Want to know what can happen if you insist on being rude?
// "I'm sorry, I can't seem to find your size out the back."
// "Looks fine... *cough*"
// "I'll look for a size for you in a minute..."
// *discount may be available* Guess who is not getting offered that today?

So how do you avoid bad customer service?

It's quite simple actually. Even if you don't want any help or are having a crap day yourself, it is not hard to be polite (and brief if you insist) because I am simply doing my job. It's also important to not that it is note acceptable to treat me as your personal slave or as though I am beneath you.

A lady was on the phone at the register today and to get my attention, she clicked in my face... I then karate chopped off her fingers.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

weekly round-up 4.

I realise that my round-up is appallingly late but I have very valid excuses. After working all day Friday, travelling down to Canberra after work, packing 50 million things into Saturday, driving back to Sydney Saturday night and then working all day Sunday, it is safe to describe my state on Monday as comatose.

Canberra In A Nutshell
// Leave Sydney approx. 7pm Friday night.
// Blush for 3 hours whilst reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
// Arrive in Canberra late and stay up far too late.
// Wake up at 8am.
// Head to Cockington Green
// Head to National Dinosaur Museum.
// Head to Questacon where I am SO proud to say, I did like a 5m freefall. Bitchez' ain't shit!
// Attend a school musical rendition of Footloose in which Justin's cousin has a lead role.
// Play puzzles for an hour and stuff cheese into mouth.
// Jump into car approx. 6.30pm and drive home.
// Pass out.

Then work all day Sunday.

Not even exaggerating when I say I'm comatose by Monday. I did not get out of bed once. Okay that's a lie, I did get up once to pee and find food. But other than that I just drank the copious amounts of tea Mum brought me (she did the same for my brother who is complaining about Year 12 and relishing his holidays!) and read more Fifty Shades of Grey.

That is a story for another day. I can't even type the title of the book without blushing and getting all squirmy! 

Yesterday was one of those super lovely days that you just don't want to ruin by having your face glued to your laptop. Yesterday was the three year anniversary for Justin and myself :) We literally just watched movie after movie after movie and I did a bit of crafting and he looked at me lovingly. Pretty casual (yet amazing) anniversary.

So I would like to end this by saying: Justin, I love you very much and kudos to us for making it to three whole years. All down hill from here babe. And also, this is a picture heavy post because who does not love miniature ANYTHING?!

If you don't know what I'm talking about, click the link to Cockington Green to be enlightened and have your world changed forever. In summary, most of the buildings/trains are all built to a scale of 12:1 and are pretty darn accurate!!

Look at the little man on the platform! Hello little man!

Mini Stonehenge anyone?

 My favourite of all the displays, the sinking barge. Reminds of the Darling Buds of May episode! I'm assuming that reference will be lost on everyone...

I really do love miniature trains.. // Take a marshmallow, dip it in hot chocolate & roll it in sprinkles!

Justin's Mum was not very impressed by her clown stamp... // Justin's present because I'm awesome.

And the photo that sums up the entire weekend...

P on the left -- all of the males over the weekend. E on the right -- all of the females over the weekend.

What did YOU do this weekend? Also, welcome to July kiddies.