Thursday, July 11, 2013

KR Castlemaine RIP OFF

This is sneaky, rude and just not right and stuff.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

1 Designer + 98 Losers = 99 Designs

When I first heard about on TwitTV's iPad Today netcast, I thought it sounded like a great idea. As a freelance designer I saw it as a possible source of income.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, 99 Designs is a site where clients post their design jobs as a competition with a set prize. People submit ideas and, at a set date, the competition is closed and a shortlist of designs is chosen. There is some communication back and forth with the finalists and completed artwork is produced. A winner is chosen and they get the prize as payment for their work.

I joined up, picked something that I had an immediate idea for with a prize of $819. I spent most of a day realising my concept into a polished design and submitted it. So did nearly 500 other people.

Nearly all of the submissions were truly awful. Clearly there were a lot of people entering who were not designers. This made me feel better about my chances of winning. The competition was closed so the client could choose the finalists and then… nothing. Weeks of nothing. Then an announcement that the client had failed to make any choices so nobody would win. The end.

I mentioned my having entered the competition on Twitter and was bombarded with messages from strangers telling me that 99 Designs was evil and killing the industry and that I should have nothing to do with them. I read some articles and decided that they were right, although some of their reasoning seemed a bit "The Sky Is Falling!" I've come up with my own argument on the topic, based on hypothetical figures chosen largely to make the maths easy, which is as follows:

Let's say a client wants a logo, for which he is willing to pay $500.
Graphic designers charge $100 per hour when dealing with direct clients, so that's 5 hours worth of work.
501 designers submit designs for this job.
One design is chosen, the designer collects his $500. He's happy.

OK, but what of the other 500 designers? They get nothing. If each of them have also spent 5 hours on their work, that's a total of 2,500 unpaid man-hours that have been thrown at this client's job for free.

That is $250,000 worth of work that nobody is getting paid for.

Look at the design industry as just that, an industry, and consider the above figures. Could any industry sustain itself by providing over $250,000 worth of work for a mere $500 return? No.

Is it reasonable for a client to expect 2,500 hours of work to be provided to it for a mere $500 outlay? Of course not.

But that's exactly what is happening.

Yeah sure, we're not an organised industry, many of the people submitting designs aren't even designers, but so what?

The issue is that this sort of site completely diminishes the perceived value of what some of us, as professional designers, do. There is, well there should be, a lot more to creating a design for a client than fulfilling a typed out brief. The solution is only ever going to be a bit generic. Unfortunately most clients won't care or wouldn't know the difference. And why wouldn't the bulk of uninformed clients love the idea of having so much to choose from without having to commit to anything?

Ideally, designers will shun sites such as these. If we cut off their source of well designed material they will become known for what they basically are, an amateur design competition site, and genuine clients will continue to seek out real designers to achieve quality results. Yeah right.

We're all doomed.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Transient Ischemic Attack

If you've read the last post and been wondering what the results showed, it was probably a TIA, Transient Ischemic Attack. It's like a mini-stroke caused by a blockage in blood flow to the brain.

Apparently my CT head scan showed some narrowing in my cartoid arteries, which are in the neck, that feed the brain. So if there's a blockage you get a thing much like a mini-stroke, but it doesn't cause any permanent damage because it breaks up and flows away.

So that's good!

I've had to go and have a scan of my cartoid arteries, which was no big deal. You lie down, a woman (in this case) puts gel on your neck and pushes a thing around for a few minutes while you get to listen to variations on the sound of your blood pumping away and making squishy noises. Unfortunately I can't get a digital copy of that either which sucks. It sounded cool, I wanted to sample it and make something. Oh well.

Results from that will be ready in a couple of days and then I might have to see a neurologist - so more to come later!

But at least I can now confidently use Arnie's line...


...and later:
My arteries aren't blocked. My doctor said it must have been one of the smaller blood vessels further up in my brain. He also told me to "forget about it!"

"I could have one right now, sitting here talking to you," he said, "there's nothing you can do. I suggest you just move on..."

Um. OK. *Shrug*

Monday, February 04, 2013

Who am I? Don't even go there!

Sometimes it doesn't pay to think about certain things, like who you are.

I realised that this morning. This very weird morning. I was having enough problems with external stuff, the very idea of failing to know who I am was too scary to consider so I decided, quite deliberately, not to even try to remember my own name.

I'd woken up after a late night. Not a boozy, party night - just a quiet, wide awake, brain ticking over with unpleasant stuff I have going on, couldn't get to sleep before 3am night. I wasn't especially tired but I felt kind of blank. Went about the basic morning stuff on auto-pilot. Toilet, shower, washed hair, dried hair, got dressed. And then I realised I didn't know where to go. I couldn't remember where I worked.

Having discounted previous jobs and self employments of the past, I knew where work WAS, just not what it was called. This isn't good, I thought, but since I now knew where to go, I set off on foot in that direction.

Half way there (it's under 10 minutes stroll away) I went into the cafe where I buy coffee. The usual girl was there, I said hi, and totally blanked. Coffee. I know I want coffee. There's the 3 different size cups. I want the middle one. What does this place call the middle one? It's not a "Grande", that's the servo. Isn't it? "Um, sorry, having a brain fade day!" Um, it's got writing on it... medium! It's a medium. Medium what? White. I want white, and sugar. 1 sugar. "Ah, medium white, 1 sugar please." "Flat white?" Yes! "That's the one, thanks."

Back on auto pilot, walking to work. Why can't I remember anything? Test yourself. Who do you work with? Um... Margi! The boss is Margi. And the rest of the Margi family, husband, son... Names? Um... Oh! and that girl. Pretty. Sits next to me. We work together, She's been there for years. What's her name? Jess! No, that's the receptionist. She's on holidays. Argh.

So I stop, sit on a wall and light a smoke. Drink some coffee. Look at my watch. I have 10 minutes to get it together. Start with something simple. What's my name? Shit, don't even go there, if you fail at that you'll never get off this fucking wall... Maddie! The girl I work with is Maddie!

Pleased with this breakthrough I get up and go to work.

"Good morning Derek!" says Maddie. Derek! Yeah, I'm sure I knew that. Right?

Margi comes in. "Morning... a funny thing's already happened, wanna hear? You know that job last week, where blah blah blah happened and you blah blah blahhed?"

"Um, not really, no. I seem to be, sort of, missing this morning." And I started to cry.

There must have been more conversation. No idea. Next thing I know Margi's run off and sent Geoff, her husband (Geoff!) to drive me home. I don't remember much about any conversation with Geoff in the car. I do remember him offering to drive me straight to the Medical Centre but I wanted to go home first. Try to get myself at least a bit together before dealing with that.

Anyway, he dropped me home. I finished my coffee, had another cigarette and walked to the Norwood Medical Centre to see my doctor. "Need more prescriptions?" Yep. I have a few things to talk to you about today though. "OK, let's do these first..." Well, while you're prescribing, I have this rash on my hands... "*looks* I'll give you blah blah." And it's on my scalp. Half my hair's fallen out in the last couple of months, I'm pretty worried about it. "Ah, OK *looks* hmmm... yeah, I'll give you blah blah blah." Thanks, and I couldn't remember who I am this morning, or where I work, or what coffee I buy or the names of the people I work with. And I cry again.

"I think you're alright really, just suffering from stress. To be safe though, go over to that section and they'll take blood for these tests *gives me form* and then go to the other section and they'll do a CT brain scan *gives me another form*. Come back Wednesday for the results. Take time off work until then *gives me yet another form*."

So I did all that and I feel normal again now. By lunch time I felt like me and I knew what I know. So that's good. I'm writing this down in case, for whatever reason, it all goes again.

Let's see what Wednesday brings.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Human beings are overrated.

Put another way, this could have been titled "Should any thing be allowed to determine the level of importance attached to itself without regard to what other things may think about it?" I suspect many of you would agree with me that the answer to such a question would be "no, of course not." We don't want cockroaches, for instance, being able to decide that the world is all about them and the rest of us have to change our lives, habits, homes and sanitary preferences to accommodate this creepy new ruling class, do we? Obviously not. Cockroaches may well be set to inherit the earth when we're gone but in the meantime they can all fuck off and die. I have no time for cockroaches.

People, however, have pretty much all decided that we are the most important things in the world, probably the universe, possibly even the galaxy, and this is despite the fact that we are actually even worse than cockroaches. Do cockroaches destroy their environment? No, they clean it up by eating whatever shit is left scattered about. Usually by us. Do they wage wars? Kill each other? Wipe out every living thing that gets between them and their dream of ever larger insect transportation device parking facilities? Do they even have insect transportation devices? Do they go about finding other insects that don't believe in their Mighty Cockroach Deity and bore them at their doorsteps with fairytales of Godroach and his magical Son, Cockus? No. They just eat shit and smell strangely of cucumbers.

Would a cockroach ask "If a tree falls in a forest and no cockroaches are present to hear it, does it make a sound?" No, because it's a stupid question. The people-centric version is one of the most stupid questions that has ever been asked.

It would be pleasing to say it was THE most stupid question but unfortunately it's merely one of many variations on the "everything is all about us" premise, culminating in the Mother Of All Stupid Ideas, Quantum Physics.

I do not claim to understand Quantum Physics. Nobody does. I have, however, read several books on the subject (hasn't everyone?). I read a huge book on String Theory and all I came away with is that String Theory is a perfect example of how many times you will have have to change an idea which makes no sense if you insist on being able to prove it with actual facts and evidence. Just give up and do something useful instead. It doesn't matter. It will make no difference to the lives of anyone, whatever the truth is, and you'll save us all trillions of wasted dollars if you simply go on the dole and stop wasting our time.

Modern science has, it seems, run out of ideas of how to do clever, useful things like provide us with light at night time or let us look at the world through a box in our living room without ever having to leave the house again (let's face it, there's cockroaches out there!), and moved into territory that was once the province of religion. In other words, science now specialises in stuff that is clearly wrong.

If you put a cat in a box and don't feed it, it will die. It will not stay even theoretically alive just because you haven't opened the box to find out. All possibilities do not remain simultaneously suspended simply because you haven't witnessed the results of your asinine cruelty. Frankly I'm glad you're dead Mr. Schrödinger.

Anyway, back to the tree in the forest thing. I am aware, as most people tend not to be, (as it is always being misquoted and, in fact, was never even said by Bishop George Berkeley, to whom it is attributed - so perhaps misquoted is the wrong word), that the tree is supposed to be on an island with no animal life whatsoever to hear its fall. This does not make it any less stupid a question. It does, however, change the reason for the stupidity from being that other things, other than mere people (who don't, it must be said, have the best hearing in the animal kingdom), would still hear it even if a person didn't (though this reason still applies every time some twat brings it up as something that makes sense even with the presence of other living beings on the island or forest). No, the reason it is still stupid is that it could never happen and it doesn't matter anyway. There is no such thing as a tree without so much as an aphid on it. Anywhere. Even if there could be, the ocean is full of stuff with the ability to hear a tree falling. Whales can hear shit from hundreds of kilometres away.

It's no use spending your lives arguing the implications of an action occurring within a set of parameters that cannot possibly exist. Please stop it.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

And another neighbour pisses me off

Dear Inconsiderate Neighbour,

I wish to complain about the barking from your dog. I was woken at 6.33 this morning by it and by 7.30 it had become so bad that I gave up any further attempts at sleeping and got up. I am obviously not pleased about this.

This is far from being the first time that this has happened.

You are either deaf or your house must have double glazing because your dog barks throughout the day and night and yet you make no effort whatsoever to keep it quiet. Clearly you are not even trying to train your dog to behave and this is unacceptable in a residential area.

This is not the dog’s fault, it is yours. Your lack of action on this matter is not only causing distress to your neighbours but it also constitutes neglect of the animal as it is obviously being left outside on its own most of the time.

Be aware that I am logging the times and dates when the barking annoys me and I will be complaining to you on a regular basis, and keeping records of my complaints. At some time I will present this evidence to the council who will then notify you and you may be fined. If the situation continues then the dog may be taken from you. I know exactly how this works because I have been through the process before.

I would prefer not to have to bother with all that, it’s tedious and a pain. I love animals and have no desire to upset your family. Nothing would please me more than for you to take a proper interest in fixing the situation yourself, without me having to proceed with the process outlined above. I highly recommend Bark Busters to you. Friends of mine had great success with their methods.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

End of Financial Year Report

For the first time in over a decade I am completely up to date in all of my dealings with everyone. Even the tax department!

I don't owe anybody a cent, I have no unpaid bills, no unfiled tax returns.

I've even paid the ATO all the money I DIDN'T owe them but they wanted anyway as tax on money I didn't even earn but hadn't bothered to fill in their bloody forms to say I hadn't earned it. They say I SHOULD get some of that back (and we're talking $12,450 that I had to pay over the last 12 months so it's not insignificant) but I'm not holding my breath. I'm sure they'll find a way to keep all of it because they seem to love to screw me over.

By my reckoning, the ATO owes me about $8000 back from the above plus 3 tax returns totalling about $2500 = $10,500. A boy can dream.

What's the bet I get nothing? I'm putting the odds at about even.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sick clothing for kids dressed to kill

AN Australian company is selling baby clothes featuring Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden and Ivan Milat.
The range of garments, in sizes from 000 rompers for three-month-old babies to T-shirts for children up to 12, has sparked international outrage.
The Ivan Milat baby romper has a picture of his face and the slogan: "Australians Just Love Backpackers"...

Link to article & comments

Grumpy of Norwood Posted at 3:43 PM June 11, 2011
If I saw a baby wearing a Charles Manson T-shirt it would undoubtedly be the funniest thing I had seen that day. Seriously, the kids don't know who these serial killers or, worse still, politicians are. The images are meaningless without knowledge of the background story. It isn't corrupting them. It only means something to an adult viewing it and if those adults are offended then it only shows how thin skinned they are.
Comment 49 of 55

Friday, April 01, 2011


I'm 50 and have been smoking since I was 15.

I love smoking. I love thinking that my body cannot regain full consciousness until I've had several cigarettes and a coffee in the morning. I love cigarettes with coffee. I love cigarettes with whisky, wine... or any other alcohol. I love gathering with other smokers to chat and gossip when everyone else is stupidly working at their desk. I particularly love it when ex-smokers at work are having such a stressful day that they ask me for a smoke. I love that a lot.

I hate smoke. The smell of it disgusts me. I hate ashtrays, nasty smelly ugly things. I hate walking into my house and having to open all the doors and windows to get rid of the smell. I hate that all the white painted walls in my house are now a streaky, unattractive buff colour. I hate that there is so much tax added to cigarettes that it's almost unaffordable. Almost. I hate that I keep having to redefine what I consider to be "affordable". I hate feeling anxious when I'm down to my last few and having to decide what I can go without in order to get another packet. I hate that I can no longer smoke where I like - in pubs, restaurants, workplaces and, here in Australia, apparently, soon, in pretty much any public area at all even if it's outdoors. I really hate people who complain about smoking too. A lot.

I had a heart attack at 45. I'm still smoking 5 years later. Although this sounds like a stupid thing to do I am perfectly capable of justifying this with the argument: It took 30 years of smoking to block one artery, that artery has been unblocked now with a stent, my other arteries have all been checked and are fine. If it takes another 30 years to block another artery I'll be 75 and that doesn't matter because, being a smoker, I'll be dead from cancer before I get to 75 anyway.

See? Makes perfect sense.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life Tips

  1. If a woman says she's upset about X, it's not about X. It dates back to Q and you don't even know what Q is.
  2. Obey the laws of mixology. If nobody else drinks Gin & Coke™, there's probably a good reason.
  3. When drinking, remove your cigarette from your mouth first to avoid ruining both your cigarette and drink.
  4. You can forget things as often as you like as long as you remember it when you actually need to.
  5. Ibuprofen + codeine painkillers washed down with tequila are your friends.
  6. It's tricky to drink while dancing in your chair to 80's pop, but not impossible.
  7. To avoid hangovers, drink enough to wake up still a little bit drunk.
  8. If you have long hair, tie it back before using a power drill. Seriously.
  9. When crossing the road, look not only left and right but down, around, and possibly up.
  10. Have just the right amount of alcohol that won't make you violent but is enough to block out reality.
  11. I forget.
  12. An empty glass is nature's way of telling you it's time to check the stuff frying on the stove.
  13. Ginger Ale makes a nice change of mixer, from Coke™, sometimes.
  14. Get pissed before you have your Drivers Licence photo taken so if you ever get pulled over drunk, they think you look normal.
  15. If you would rather that dirty old men such as myself didn't gawp at you, try tucking your genitalia up inside your "shorts."
  16. Never bullshit a bullshitter.
  17. Smiley Faces excuse a multitude of rudnesses.