Dysfunctional Families or Awkward Family Photos?

It’s a shame really, but I reckon a couple of family snaps of my brothers and sisters and me could’ve probably made it into this book due to be released on May 4th, 2010.

For instance, I recall that one family vacation to New Zealand (travelling both islands in a camper van), my Mum decided that perhaps the Brady Bunch had nothing on us!! Matching hand-made 70’s style pyschedelic floral boardshorts for the boys and skirts for the girls… all five kids ranging from big to little (boy, girl, boy, girl, boy) with matching bright yellow t-shirts each with our name boldly printed across our chest.

Alas – I don’t think anyone in the family felt an urge to capture a Kodak moment for prosperity.

The book by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack (how’s that for ‘awkward’ names) is entitled “Awkward Family Photos” – but looking at some of the promo pics, might be more aptly named “Dysfunctional Families”.

One thing this book proves, is that you can choose your friends but you cannot choose your family!! 🙂

Who looks happier? The dog or the Dad? Hmmm…

Sometimes parents can be just so very scary!!

What happened – too little material for another pair of pajamas? Or just too much egg-nog?

“Beam me up, Scotty”!!

These dolls used to give me nightmares – I think they will again… 😦

Would you trust this guy with your baby?

Oh my!! Mum must be so very, very proud!!


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Lest We Forget – ANZAC Day 2010, Singapore


This morning Jaime and I woke up at 5:30am and braved the early morning humidity to head out to the ANZAC Day Dawn Service and ‘laying of the wreaths’ at the Kranji War Memorial at Woodlands Road 9, Singapore.

The service itself was extremely moving. Although I had heard stories of Australia’s involvement in World War 2 from my late Grandfather, and have seen numerous documentaries and movies on the subject, and of course studied in history at school the role that the ANZACs played in defending Singapore, it still really hits home when I visit the Kranji War Memorial – to see the sheer number of grave stones honouring the Australian and New Zealand serviceman who so bravely sacrificed their lives… the monuments stretch for as far as the eye can see!! Just reading a few of the stones – the names, young ages and regiments… thank God for these men and women – and prayers to their families.

In this video, I sincerely apologise to the serviceman (who was one of many) that succumbed to the humidity this morning by fainting – I did not intentionally capture you on video.

More pictures:
(Click thumbnails to enlarge)


The Australian National Anthem – “Advance Australia Fair”:

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Posted in Family, Singapore, Videos, World | 2 Comments

iPad Scam – Bloggers Beware!!

I often get approached by companies to review their products or services on my blog, and on the rare occasion I have accepted their offer of payment in either monetary or product form (I say rarely, because although it was very flattering in my early blogging days, if I were to accept every request for review that I receive these days, then my blog would become nothing but an advertising hub and I’d be writing full-time – and doesn’t it just annoy you when you visit a website and it’s just completely cluttered and jammed with ads?)

Furthermore – really, how many people do you think make much money through ‘cheap’ reviews or the common advertising activities such as ‘Adsense’ or ‘pay per click-through’ programs (unless the site is getting millions of hits a month)?

Also, I’ve discovered that there are much better ways to monetize a blog (for example through targeted viral campaigns and partnership with reputable interactive agencies) – enough to provide some serious ‘play money’ for doing something that I enjoy.

As usual, I digress… the crux of this article is to warn the unsuspecting, new or maybe ‘naïve’ blogger, of the most recent scam that I’ve become aware of.

Just yesterday, I received an email from someone that I would consider quite trustworthy, and someone who has been quite a successful blogger. So it surprised me that he would fall for such a deviant online trick. Certainly, he would not have intentionally tried to involve me in the scam… the email was a result of the ‘believability’ of the deviousness.

In short, the email was offering me to become a part of a group of bloggers who are being engaged in a program to review the Apple iPad. The attractive part of the deal, is that the offering company claim that they are a marketing company that have been engaged by Apple for this activity (and looking at their very professional looking website, this type of partnership would appear to be their core business) and in return for the review and beta testing of the iPad (which would last one month), the reviewer would get to keep the device.

Now in my experience, if anything seems ‘too good to be true’, then it probably is. So in my usual skeptical manner, I immediately did some quick investigation. I am purposely not going to attach a hyperlink in my this article (because no doubt someone will click through and fall for the scam – regardless of the WARNING in the title above, and also I would suspect it would create some negativity within the Google search algorithms), but I can tell you that the company is, “Beta Testing Inc” – the click through was from a link titled “Reviewers Circle” – I reviewed the site, and like I said it was very professional looking – the give-away for the scam are the three steps to sign up for the reviewers deal – Step 1: Enter your information (name / email address); Step 2: Sign into your email – invitations to participate will be sent to everyone on your contacts list (what the??); and Step 3: Complete the Registration.

When I first visited the site yesterday, they were also asking for a contact phone number that needed verification before registration could be completed – apparently to ensure there were no duplicate registrations (sure thing…).


When I googled the company name, I found their website in the Top 10 returned URLs… ok, no problems so far… when I googled their company name with word ‘scam’ after it, as they say in Chinese, “wo de ma!!” – already the IT savvy websites had started publishing articles about a similar scam involving the iPad and reviews on Facebook and MySpace. FB has since pulled the fan pages down.

According to what I read, the scam provides for the victim’s information to potentially be used for a number of purposes, including but not limited to: identity theft; hacking of accounts; expensive premium SMS subscriptions that can only be cancelled by ‘opting out’ etc, etc.

So my advice to all you budding (and even experienced bloggers) – do not fall for this scam, or any others like it. Always be diligent when inputting your personal details into any website (especially login information, email addresses or cell phone numbers, personal addresses, etc). This particular scam is a very elaborate one and perhaps even difficult to identify at first – it’s not like the old ‘Nigerian banker’ emails that were going around – there are many computer savvy and creative website developers that can also be very conniving and involve themselves in criminal activities.


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The Only Four Chords Needed For Every Pop Song

For anyone who plays a musical instrument, this is probably nothing new, and I’ve seen variations (even a competition) based on this phenomenon. But never have I seen it portrayed in such a very clever and ROFL way.

For those who don’t play an instrument, but just enjoy music for it’s therapeutic value, you might feel a bit disappointed in this video… perhaps you’ve thought before things like “wow, the writer of that song is a genious”, or “that artist’s music is just so unique” – well think again, my friends. A message to the music industry – we’re all right on to you and your tricks!!

At the 2009 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Aussie musical comedy act “The Axis Of Awesome” contended that the same four chords (played in the same progression) have been used for nearly every pop song for the last forty years!!

WARNING: A couple of ‘F’ bombs in this video – do NOT play it loud enough for the young kids to hear and defintely do NOT play at full volume in the office!!

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Australian 2010 Top 10 Beach Babes – Zoo Weekly

Not one to just post pictures of pretty girls for the sake of it, I’m going a little out of my blog’s comfort zone in today’s article.


For those readers of mine that are easily offended, perhaps you should close your browser now and accept my sincere apologies.

But for those of you who appreciate aesthetically pleasing things in life, read on and check out the photos of Zoo Weekly’s Top 10 Finalists in the Australian 2010 Beach Babes Competition.

The finalists (in no particular order):
Click images to enlarge to full size

Sally, 25
Event Sales and Marketing Manager, Alice Springs, NT

“I always wear a G-string on the beach — it shows off the shape of my bum nicely”


Marta, 22
Sales Manager, Park Central, NSW

“My ultimate fantasy is to join the mile-high club”


Melanie, 26
Events Manager/Model, Gladesville, NSW

“The only time I went to a nudist beach it was full of 80-year-olds strutting around without a care in the world”


Shannah, 19
Bartender, Gold Coast, QLD

“I’ve never been to a nudist beach, but I’ve been nude at a beach. Does that count?”


Gabriela, 26
Hostess/Cocktail Waitress, Waterloo, NSW

“I wear a Brazilian-style bikini so I don’t get a bad tan line. I never look cheap, though — just enough a*** but still plenty of class!”


Natasha, 21
Personal Assistant, Werribee, VIC

“The best way to get a guy’s attention at the beach is to ask them to help tighten up my bikini top”


Jessica 19
Barista/Model, Gosford, NSW

“To get a guy’s attention all I normally have to do is walk out of the water”


Tijen, 21
Student, Canterbury, VIC

“The sexiest part of my body is my stomach because it’s nice and toned”


Inga, 23
Accountant, Perth, WA

“I rarely go topless but I’ve had it come off before on a jet-ski”


Temika, 22
Childcare Worker, Moranbah, QLD

“I never go topless at the beach because my girls burn too easily and sunburn is unattractive”



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China and Hong Kong’s Most Beautiful People – 2010

Each year, the ‘Beijing News’ ranks the Top 20 most beautiful people (male or female celebrities) from China and Hong Kong.

Now, how they come up with their list is a bit open to interpretation, because it doesn’t matter who I’ve asked, the reaction has been one of complete ‘aghast’ to this year’s list.

For example, my wife was horrified when I told her that Li Yun Chun came in at third place… she said that unless you knew that she won China’s ‘Super Girl’ (the Chinese equivalent of American Idol), you might have to take a guess if she is in fact a girl or a boy. 🙂

Some other surprises include popular blogger and author, Han Han, and the fact that last year’s winner, Zhang Ziyi dropped from the top place to number 19. Personally, I don’t know how this can be when singer and now actress Karen Mok (who’s music I love, but beauty she definitely is not) ranked at number 6.

Anyway, the list is as follows:

1) Fan Bing Bing

2) Sun Hong Lei

3) Li Yu Chun

4) Han han

5) Hu Jun

6) Karen Mok

7) Huang Bo

8) Zhou Xun

9) Li Bing Bing

10) Zong Dai Xian

11) Vicki Zhao Wei

12) Huang Shao Ming

13) Mavis Fan Xiao Xuan

14) Zhang Jun Ning

15) Nicholas Tse

16) Yao Chen

17) Chow Yun Fatt

18) Yan Ni

19) Zhang Ziyi

20) Chen Kun

Here are some pictures of some of the Top 20 (in no particular order):
(click on a thumbnail for a larger view (in correct perspective):

Legend:

– Zhang Ziyi
– “Super Girl” Li Yu Chun
– Li Bing Bing
– Fan Bing Bing
– Karen Mok
– Mavis Fan Xiao Xuan
– Chow Yun Fatt
– Author and blogger, Han Han
– Huang Bo (extreme right)
– Chen Kun
– Hu Jun (Left)

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3D TV – Don’t Drink and Watch! (And Other Fine Print)

The frenzy has started!! With the availability of 3D television, the world is a-buzz with the idea of this life-changing technology.

But be aware – watching 3D TV can be harmful (so the manufacturers are telling us). In fact, if you’re like me and enjoy watching sports and enjoying a beer, then whatever you do, don’t watch the upcoming Germany vs Australia FIFA world cup game in 3D – actually it’s dangerous to watch anthing in 3D during or after consuming alcohol!!

This is just one of the many warnings issued under Samsung’s safety guidelines. In Australia, Samsung will be releasing the first range of 3D TVs in stores as early as next week (at the behest of competitors Sony and Panasonic).

Australia vs Germany is just one of 25 FIFA World Cup matches that will be filmed in 3D.

So be warned… and be very careful – do NOT drink and watch!!

Other groups who have been warned by Samsung not to watch 3D TV, include those who suffer from epilepsy, the elderly, pregnant women, any children under the age of six years old, and anyone who has not had enough sleep.

To minimize the possibility of serious accident, Samsung are also warning people to be careful where they place their 3D TV. According to the guidelines, “Do not place your TV near open stairwells, cables, balconies, or other objects that can be tripped over, run into, knocked down, broken or fallen over”.

The Following Guidelines are available on Samsung’s 3D TV website:

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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION. READ THE FOLLOWING WARNINGS BEFORE YOU OR YOUR CHILD USE THE 3D FUNCTION

WARNING

• Children and teenagers may be more susceptible to health issues associated with viewing in 3D and should be closely supervised when viewing these images. Children under the age of six should not view 3D TV.

PHOTOSENSITVE SEIZURE WARNING AND OTHER HEALTH RISKS

• Some viewers may experience an epileptic seizure or stroke when exposed to certain flashing images or lights contained in certain television pictures or video games. If you suffer from, or have a family history of epilepsy or strokes, please consult with a medical specialist before using the 3D function.

• Even those without a personal or family history of epilepsy or stroke may have an undiagnosed condition that can cause photosensitive epileptic seizures.

• Pregnant women, the elderly, sufferers of serious medical conditions, those who are sleep deprived or under the influence of alcohol should avoid utilising the unit’s 3D functionality.

• If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop viewing 3D pictures immediately and consult a medical specialist: (1) altered vision; (2) lightheadedness; (3) dizziness; (4) involuntary movements such as eye or muscle twitching; (5) confusion; (6) nausea; (7) loss of awareness; (8) convulsions; (9) cramps; and/ or (10) disorientation. Children and teenagers may be more likely than adults to experience these symptoms. Parents should monitor their children and ask whether they are experiencing these symptoms.

• Viewing 3D television may also cause motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain and decreased postural stability. It is recommended that users take frequent breaks to lessen the potential of these effects. If your eyes show signs of fatigue or dryness or if you have any of the above symptoms, immediately discontinue use of this device and do not resume using it for at least thirty minutes after the symptoms have subsided.

• Watching TV while sitting too close to the screen for an extended period of time may damage your eyesight. The ideal viewing distance should be at least three times the screen height. It is recommended that the viewer’s eyes are level with the screen.

• Watching TV while wearing 3D glasses for an extended period of time may cause a headache or fatigue. If you experience a headache, fatigue or dizziness, stop viewing TV and rest.

• Do not use the 3D glasses for any other purpose than for viewing 3D television. Wearing the 3D glasses for any other purpose (as general spectacles, sunglasses, protective goggles, etc.) may be physically harmful to you and may weaken your eyesight.

• Viewing in 3D may cause disorientation for some viewers. Accordingly, DO NOT place your TV television near open stairwells, cables, balconies, or other objects that can be tripped over, run into, knocked down, broken or fallen over.

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