Tuesday, February 28, 2006
During that time, I had the pleasure of working with one of the finest economists who had more letters after his name than I have ever seen and had the distinction of not being a fuckwit like many other people with letters after their names! He was that rare breed of smart people that can actually apply their smarts to solve shit. He had a PhD in econometrics and during the years that we sat next to each other I absorbed a lot about the dark art of having two hands and not being afraid to use them both at the same time (this is an economist joke, and about as funny as they get sadly; I would explain but it would be even less funny.)
Having spent all those years pouring over data and making decisions that you could justify were the rights ones at the time you made them (and why they were wrong the next day) I now cannot help but read a newspaper and apply economics to stories. Whether it is the price of petrol (supply and demand of the raw commodity, oil, mixed with distribution and taxes) or a sale at Pumpkin Patch (goods manufactured in China and brought to NZ with some level of currency hedge to protect the retailer) right down to cheap LCD TVs (over manufacture leading to glut of stock that need to be shifted fast before it becomes obsolete) I simply cannot help it.
Inflation is a really easy concept. It is simply a measurement between the price of a basket of goods that you bought a wee while ago and the price of the same basket now. Goods tend to go up and so the value of your dollar appears to buy less hence the old, "When I was a lad, I could buy a bag of chips, a small house and three horses and still have change from a dollar..." kind of talk.
Some things go up more than inflation and some less. Today, a particular commodity that is a huge part of Wellington life went through the roof. I'm taking about coffee of course. The establishment that supplies the daily dose for me and a whole bunch of the guys and girls around me, shifted the price of the black nectar from $3.50 to $4.50 for a takeaway - that is a massive 28.5% and has broken through my personal tipping point. As a result, we have had to source a new cafe and the jury is still out. Either way, at nearly $5 a cup, it just seems like a luxury item and not a daily need.
The economics here are pretty simple but the decision to hike the price so much is a bit flawed. Put up the price by 28% and you can still lose customers and make more money is the argument. The price hike is probably linked to wage pressures, rental increases, raw goods costs and a bit of greed thrown in for good measure. The flaw is in how many customers can you afford to lose before your staff are standing around idle for long periods or you have a large stock of beans that are approaching their best before date. It is a very fine line between profit and loss and if you lose a solid customer base, it will cost you more to acquire new ones. This is particularly true in Welly where some of the smaller cafes, just off the beaten track, are making primo coffee at reasonable prices. We are a fickle bunch us coffee snobs and whilst we are addicts, we can choose who our dealer is.
Perhaps they are using Kopi Luwak beans? These particular beans sell for up to US$175 a pound and get the unique taste and aroma from the simple fact that they pass through the arse of the Palm Civet, a native of Indonesia. The little beasties eat the ripe coffee cherries and the beans are collected from the droppings. Don't believe me? Check out this site for some pretty graphic images of the process - it explains why some coffee actually tastes like shit.....
Sunday, February 26, 2006
It had also been some time since I had been into my StatCounter so I decided to have a peruse this morning. It is a good insight into the search work and I am pleased to announce that the searches for "Hooters Feet" is slipping down the charts but "Hooters Pantyhose" is still firmly in place at #1 by a massive margin. It strikes me that you could dress up a chicken in pantyhose and people (exclusively from the US according to the analysis) would get-off on it.
Disturbing recent searches are:
Very young in pantyhose
- It is the word "very" that lends a creepyness to this search.
- An unfortunate surname; might I suggest a hyphen?
Pantyhose butt action
- I'm not sure what sort of action a butt would get up to or why it would be more fun in pantyhose.
- Surely they are the ultimate protection.
How to make your sack bigger
- Why? Maybe you have large potatoes I guess....
Pantyhose sex ideas
- Yeah, here's one: Put them over your head for that bank robber fantasy session....
Smells of nylon feet
- How the hell did you ever get to this site when the #1 Google entry is "smell-my-feet.com"?
Remove nipple hair safely
- At least is wasn't remove nipple hair unsafely; for that I would suggest a flymo
Why men love hooters
- If you have to ask, you are clearly a butt man
The Yummy Mummy Handbook
- A best seller I imagine. Hopefully a cookbook....
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
However, there is one thing that turns me into a gibbering wuss and I don't care. Call me a baby, kick sand in my face, give me a Chinese burn, I don't care. If it makes me less a bloke then kiss my little girls arse (damn that'll get some Google hits!). Sadly, it appears that the subject of my fear is a specialist subject of Alans.
When we first moved to NZ, I was assured that there was only one poisonous spider that lived on beaches and was very rare. I have no idea if this is true so facts would be nice, anyone? Little did I know that there is a freakin' house dwelling version that appears as common as net curtains in Essex (very common to those of you who have not been there). Not only is it common, it does have a nasty bite. How nasty appears to be up for discussion but I would quite like to know. All I am told is "it's not fatal" but that doesn't reassure me much as there are plenty of things in life that are not fatal and that still bloody hurt i.e. it's OK the bullet went right through you and damn that shark, at least you have another arm.
My fear appears to have grown over the last years. It all stems back to some bad experiences as a child in Africa but they had been largely forgotten until several years back when something must have triggered them. I have never been fond of the critters but now I get a bit on the cold and sweaty side when confronted. Ms R regularly shouts out "Look Daddy, a baby Charlotte" but no sooner do I hear those words, I start looking for the nearest shoe/newspaper/book/brick. This usually ends in tears as she is a fan of the species and their complete destruction is out of keeping with her thrill at finding one.
To say I give them a wee tap would be a bit of an understatement in much the same way as saying that "That Jerry Collins, he's a bit hard he is". The house shudders when I nail one of the fckrz. I don't whack it so much as obliterate it. If Garfield could see me, he'd be so proud. And this was before I realised that the little bugger could actually fight back.
I am assured by Alan that the little jumping things with the bloody long front legs (that they would use to prise open my ear canal and enter my brain) are completely harmless. I say, you can't be too careful and if you have to get that close to look, you are opening yourself up to some trouble. I say whack now and ask later....I don't want to wound it and piss it off.
Oh, hey a spider.
WHACK WHACK WHACK WHACK
Did it jump?
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Stegosaurus - Little Ms R (Aged 4 and a bit)
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.
Not one to brag, but that girl is an artistic genius! If she says that the mighty Stegosaurus had 6 legs, then 6 legs is what it had. I have added a picture of what "scientist" think it looked like. I think you'll agree, 6 legs is better - what do they know? Ever seen one? Nah, didn't think so but apparently the one that lives in the garden looks just like this one so there.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Ms R, ready to go!
Originally uploaded by Mr Reasonable.
A is for Axim
It was my birthday and I got a cool Dell Axim X51v - I downloaded Episode 8 of the second series of LOST onto it and it is damn fine (we have just watched Episode 11 and it was a real corker! Bless the Gods of Torrent and those lovely people at iHug for the 2mbps line)
B is for Blog
I have ignored this blog for 2 weeks and feel oddly guilty. This entry should help and I have loaded a pile of photos onto Flickr to those interested enough to click through.
C is for Canoe
Spent lots of time in one on the beautiful Appleby River outside Richmond with the whole family. Massively impressed with the natural affinity with water that Ms R and Little Ms R have - I have no skills at all and swim like a wounded Iguana, however that is.
D is for Driving
The 2 hour stint behind the wheel from Picton to Nelson was made easier by the use of a portable DVD player with two screens which kept the noisy backseat monsters amused.
E is for Eel
If you catch one, don't try and take it off your line as they are revoltingly slimy and will wrap around your arm and make you feel like a Ghostbuster.....
F is for Four by Four
This was needed to access the river for the canoeing. Great fun - we noticed on our second visit that someone else had decided to use the facilities but had got stuck. The rising water was over the bonnet when we got there and over the roof when we left....F is also for f*cked it appears.
G is for Garden
Installed a wizzy irrigation system into our garden so that my poor plants might actually stand a chance this year.
H is for Hell
Definition of Hell: Deck 2, Kaitaki Children’s Play Area. Visit at your peril as every disease known lives down there and a few yet to be named.
I is for Island
Snorkeling around the many bays and islands in the Marlborough Sounds surrounded by seals in water as warm as a bath was a fabulous experience. Picking up Kina to use as bait for Herring was a blast. Do people really eat that snot?
J is for Joy
Catching a big fish and letting it go back along is way is a good feeling. Not as good as sticking a sharp knife into it’s head, pulling out it’s guts and then throwing it onto a BBQ with a bit of lemon mind you.
K is for Kaitaki
A big boat with food at prices to rival Harrods. Don't by the Hot Chocolate unless you enjoy eating with a spoon - if you do, go for it but if you can eat it all, you will have a suger rush akin to four Cokes skulled with a Mars Bar or two to line your stomach.
L is for Lambretta
Still the funkiest café in Nelson. Great coffee and good for kids.
M is for My TradeMe
Wherever you go, you can bid and when you get home it is like Christmas with every parcel like a mini surprise.
N is for Nelson
Damn fine living, if you can afford it.
O is Oasis
A new café by the river in Nelson. Nice food and reasonable coffee that would be tastier I’m sure if the staff smiled a bit.
P is for playground
The Lions Playground at Tahunanui is right on the beach and tires even the most boisterous of kids. Mr Whippy on hand adds to the experience.
Q is for Quiet
There is nothing like the sound of running water and wind without and cars or industrial din. I have mastered the art of filtering out the screaming of small children, an accomplishment that is not recognised as useful by Mrs R.
S is for Sunburn
How easily I forget how harsh the sun in NZ can be. I never ever let the kids out without sun screen on yet continue for forget myself. Not bright or clever.
T is for Treat
Try the Chateaubriand at Appelmans Restaurant in Richmond for a treat for two. Mrs R and I first had this dish back in 1994 when the restaurant was in Nelson - we had it the night we got engaged and have been back nearly every year. You will never get bored of this dish.
U is for Umbrella
Needed twice. Not a device that can be used in Wellington, so a novelty for us.
V is for Victory
England beat Wales (sorry Mike) but actually I don't really care as I am now a true AB fan. I will be going for my citizenship this year and will learn to pronounce yoghurt in a strange way and no longer worry when people ask if I have new pants.
W is for Wanker
Paul Hewitt, Failed Developer and arsehole, has had his house sold at a mortgage sale to repay his debts I guess. I feel very sorry for his family but the guy ripped off many people along the way so fuck 'im. I only know this from an anonymous comment posting on an earlier entry so thank you whoever you are and I hope that you were able to recover from whatever losses you suffered at the hands of this jerk.
X is for X-Rated
Beware of sickly white pommy legs on a rare outing into shorts....not for those of a weak disposition.
Z is for Zoo
Not a lot beats Eva Dicksons at the zoo for a pre or post visit snack.
And there you have it. A great 10-days and now I need a holiday.....