Monday, May 12, 2008

Javatari world traveller.

Well, I've returned from a trip to Thailand. I have to say that before I went I knew I wasn't much of a traveler and this trip confirmed it. Don't get me wrong, most of the trip was enjoyable, but overall, I don't feel that I greatly benefited from the experience. I think I just got caught up in everyone elses excited talk of their overseas trips and people telling me how great they found it over there.

The biggest problem I think was the travel agent. Long story short, we stayed in Bangkok for a few days and then we planning on going to a resort on a less crowded Island for about a week. We were thinking that Bangkok would not be all that great and the resort part of the holiday would be awesome. As it turned out, almost the opposite was true. We'd told the agent we would be going on a belated honeymoon and that we wanted to stay in nice places. The hotel in Bangkok was 5 star and we had no complaints there. When we arrived at the resort, it was not quite what we'd been expecting. Unknown to us we'd been booked into a small, crappy bungalow, so we had to upgrade ourself to a hotel room, which we'd been led to believe was what we had been booked into in the first place. Even that was a massive downgrade from our previous accommodation. Then there was the rest of the resort itself, totally boring.

To cut this tale even shorter, we left 3 days early as we weren't enjoying the holiday anymore and just wanted to get home. Now we're struggling with the travel agents to get our money refunded from the nights we'd booked but didn't stay at the hotel. Overall I'll be thinking long and hard before going on anymore holidays.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Oh yeah, this blog.

Well, I must say I've enjoyed not writing anything blog related for a while. There is no pressure for me from myself to think of stuff to blog about, which is nice.

I just thought I'd stop by and say that my life is all about work and family these days. Specifically finding a balance between the two. Although I won't bore you with the details there were recently a few changes at work that jerked me out of the rut I was in. Even though the changes seemed pretty negative in regards to myself and a few colleagues, I now see it as a positive thing...mostly. In short one of the people on the same level as me and my peeps was promoted rather suddenly to be the manager of the rest of us. It was also done behind closed doors, no interviews, no consultation, just a sudden promotion based on the opinion of one person. As you might imagine there was some backlash.

After a few days and some one on one discussion with the megaboss, things settled down a lot and I think we agree now that the right person was chosen for that specific job, even though he hadn't done the same time that some of us had. What it's meant for me is that I know that if I want to get anywhere with this company, I need to start to play my A-game and make myself specialized enough so that if an opportunity comes along in my field, I'll be the one thought of.

So just thought I'd share that with you. As you were.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Alas poor Yoric.

When I first started this blog, I didn't really have any goals with it. I did not have the intention of writing witty, topical satire, or fascinating anecdotes from my life. I didn't even plan this blog to be about reviews, or stories. In retrospect, this lack of direction may have been a mistake. Sure I could keep writing random spurts of vague creativity when I have the time or inclination, but what is the point I wonder.

I think I've stated before that I never was particularly concerned about having lots of people come and comment or read what I typed. If I had cared, I'm sure I would have given up on this blog long ago. Still there is something nice about knowing that even a handful of readers are slightly amused, entertained, or even take the time to skim and offer a quick comment now and then.

Like much of this blog, you might be wondering where I'm going. If you haven't already guessed, I'm thinking about taking Merlo's Blog to the vet to have it put down. My desire to write about anything is always sporadic and I often wonder what is the point of putting something in the public eye, if no eye even turns to it. Once I get to 100 posts (pretty soon) I will likely move on from here.

I suppose if I could come up with a theme or some kind of direction I could revamp this site, or create a new blog from scratch. Any suggestions/requests?

I will of course announce if and when I have finished for good.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Season's Greetings to you all

Just a quick message to say, season's greetings! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and will have fantastic new year. Especially if you had a crappy year this year. Personally this one was pretty great for me, but let's hope next year is even better.

I'd also like send good cheer to those who celebrate Festivus. Enjoy the Festivus pole and stay away from distracting tinsel.

And if you don't celebrate either of these traditions, peace and goodwill to you too.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Scum of the Earth

When someone you know or a member of your family gets royally screwed over by another person you just can’t help but lose a little more faith in humanity. I am telling this story to make others aware that it’s not only buyers who should, ‘beware’, but also sellers. Especially if you are selling a house, even when in a hurry, do your homework and find out what a reasonable price for the house actually is.

I must say that Real Estate Agents were always high on my list of dodgy professions, but a recent incident has moved them to the top of the list.

Earlier this year, my grandma moved into a nursing home, and to afford the massive deposit for her to stay there, my mum had to sell her parents unit. It was located in a very nice suburb, close to shops, schools, etc. Although it was getting on a bit and needed some work, there was not a huge amount that needed to be done to it. My mum was under time constraints to sell it and so went to only one Estate Agent and trusted that they were professional experts and would try and get her the best price for the place.

At first my mum was told by the agent that it was probably worth about $300k , but after a subsequent visit, apparently noticed more faults with the place and dropped the estimate to between $200 and $250k. My mum semi-joked that the agent was probably selling it to a friend and was looking to get a decent price for them. She also believed that the people who were buying it would be moving in and living there. Ultimately she sold it for around $250k, believing that was the best price she could get.

Cut to a number of months later and my mum sees the unit back on the market. She even went to the open day and noted that they had probably spent a few thousand dollars on tearing the carpets up and polishing the floor boards, as well as painting the place and doing some other superficial work to make it look prettier. Then imagine my mum’s surprise when the place now sold for just over $450k! A far cry from the max $250k, the SAME REAL ESTATE AGENT had quoted her a few months earlier!!

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but it doesn’t seem a stretch to suggest that the agent saw my mum as being a bit naive about house prices and saw a chance to take advantage of that and sell cheaply to a buddy (and pocket one commission), then pocket a second larger commission after the new owners had touched the place up.

If anyone has relatives in a nursing home, you know how expensive those places are and my mum could have done with the extra money to go towards paying for her parents to be well cared for, but that scum f**k agent wouldn’t give a damn about anything, but lining his own pocket. Personally I hope he burns in hell.

Angry rants aside, if anyone reading this is thinking about selling theirs or another property, I hope you remember this kind of scam, especially if you have even an inkling that the place should be worth more than you’re quoted by one person. Get second and third opinions, especially from expert third parties. And in the words of Fox Mulder, “Trust no one.”

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The joys of a good election.

I, like all Australians of voting age have to vote in the federal election tomorrow, and the burden weighs heavily on my broad, masculine shoulders…well they are shoulders at least. We have the great democratic choice between one of two guys running the country. That’s what it boils down to. Who really cares about those local nobodies you see posters for all over the place. I’ve never heard of any of them before, so why should I vote for them, they all seem to be cut from the same mold if you ask me.

As you might be able to tell by now, I’m not much into politics, or politicians for that matter. If someone starts talking to me about parliaments, houses, back benchers, etc, my eyes glaze over faster that a glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut. But stupid analogies aside, I’m just totally cynical of politics cause there is nothing keeping politicians or their parties from breaking, forgetting or rephrasing their campaign promises. Apart from the peoples ability to get rid of them after their term!

My favourite part of the campaign trail is over now and that’s the tv and radio ads. The methods used to promote one party and put down the other are nothing short of school yard thinking. Here’s an example I just made up which bares a similarity with many of the ads I’ve heard recently: “Mr X’s party believes your family deserves job security and financial security. (Said in a deep sleazy voice)--> Mr Y’s party eats babies, pisses on your job and steals money from your bank account while you sleep. (back to cheery voiceover) Vote Mr X’s party.”

So it’s off to some crowded polling station I go tomorrow to see if the government of this country will change, or be stuck with the same lot we’ve had for the last 11 years.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What the hell?

Now I don't normally post youtube clips, but I saw this and thought to myself, "Now there's something you don't see every day." And OJ Simpson doing a magic routine certainly falls under that category. Enjoy.